Why Does My Cat Stare At Me?

Somebody’s watching you 👀

cat looking up with big eyes

Have you ever wondered why your cat watches your every move?

You might get a little creeped out by it sometimes, but he’s definitely not trying to scare you. He actually might be trying to tell you something.

“Although it can be a little unnerving when your kitty stares at you, and internet memes abound of cats plotting to take over the world, the truth is when your cat is staring at you, it's a bit more nuanced,” Dr. Rebeca Oliveira, a veterinarian at NHV Natural Pet, told The Dodo.

The Dodo spoke to Dr. Oliveira to find out why your cat stares at you all the time.

Why does my cat always stare at me?

There are a number of reasons why cats stare at their owners. To figure out why your cat’s staring at you, look at what the rest of your cat’s body is doing.

“Body language, not just eye contact, is the key to understanding what it means,” Dr. Oliveira said. “Staring is a way of your cat communicating with their human.”

Here’s why your cat might be watching you.

He’s hungry

Your cat might just be hungry.

If he’s staring at you around mealtimes or sitting in the kitchen and looking at you, you can probably assume that’s the case — especially if he’s watching while you eat, too.

He’s probably trying to tell you he wants you to feed him (or give him some table scraps — but be careful what you give him as a treat, since some human foods are dangerous for cats).

He wants to play or spend time with you

Your cat might stare at you to get your attention if he wants to play or get some petting from you.

“If their body is relaxed, they might be telling you that they are friendly and want to spend time with you!” Dr. Oliveira said.

Happy body language in cats looks like a relaxed and loose body. He’ll hold his tail and ears up and may purr.

If your cat’s feeling comfortable and relaxed, he might show his belly or curl up into a loaf — both positions that show your cat feels super safe.

He feels threatened

Cats (and many animals) see direct eye contact as aggression, so if a cat’s showing signs that he’s afraid, anxious or angry while looking at you, be wary.

“If their body is stiff, tail high and staring at you with dilated pupils, be careful,” Dr. Oliveira said. “This is a cat who might be in an attack position. They may see you as a threat and are ready to attack if you try to pet them or get closer.”

If you experience this with a cat, look away and stop approaching so you don’t agitate or scare the cat even more. If it’s your own cat, give him some alone time, and he’ll probably be ready to hang out with you later.

He’s curious

Cats are curious, so your cat could just be observing you and trying to figure out what you’re doing.

You’re his main form of entertainment, so it’s not that unusual for him to want to see what you’re up to.

He loves you

Cats will sometimes stare at their owners to show affection.

“If your cat is staring at you, slowly blinking while they are getting closer to you, it is a sign of affection,” Dr. Oliveira said.

Similarly, if your cat’s kneading you and staring deep into your eyes, you can safely assume he’s trying to say he likes you.

What does it mean when a cat slow blinks?

Slow blinking is one way that cats show that they love you.

It’s similar to a cat’s smile, and cats do it when they’re feeling happy and comfy. Humans can copy this behavior to communicate to their cats that they’re open to communication and interaction.

So if your cat slow blinks at you, you can blink back at him to tell him you love him, too.

How to tell if your cat’s staring isn’t normal

If your cat starts doing anything out of the blue that he doesn't normally do, it could be a sign that he’s sick. Unusual behavior, such as excessive grooming, hiding and changes in eating habits, can be a symptom of illness, injury or anxiety.

So look out for any new weird behaviors, including staring, so you’ll know if your cat needs to go to the vet.

What to do if your cat keeps staring at you

If your cat stares at you all the time (and it’s freaking you out), try to figure out why he’s staring.

For example, if your cat wants more attention, set aside some time each day to play with him. Or if he starts staring at you suddenly, check him out to make sure he’s not showing any other symptoms of illness.

And you can always talk to your vet if you’re concerned.

But most of the time, when your cat’s staring at you, he’s just trying to tell you something (and not trying to freak you out).