cat stare

Why Does My Cat Stare at Me? How Should I Respond?

Last Updated on January 31, 2023 by admin

Have you ever had to look away from your cat’s soul piercing gaze? A cat’s stare can get quite intense.

Amongst cats a direct stare is the prelude to a fight. Luckily us humans don’t live in that cut throat world and in most cases its our cats wanting something from us or a cry for help. As cat parents it’s important for us to learn as much as we can about these cues to ensure that our cats are happy and healthy.

Every cat is different and so is every situation but with our comprehensive list we’ll help you figure out how to be ready for anything. Just remember there are good stares and bad stares. If you are uncertain or just ignored the stares as your cat acting weird, stay with us to help you become a better partner (or servant) to your cat.



Body Language Matters

One important cue is a cat’s body language. Not all stares are created equal. There are nuances to watch for. Here are some cues that may indicate something’s wrong:

  • Ears peeled back
  • Dilated pupils (can also just mean the cat is excited)
  • Tail wrapped tight against body
  • Swishing tail
  • Hissing
  • Heavy breathing
  • Mouth half-open
  • Hair standing up

If your cat is staring at you and seems tense there could be something wrong. Make sure you’re not doing anything to aggravate your cat and identify the source of the cat’s reaction. Maintain calm and use a soothing tone when talking to your cat but exercise precaution when initiating physical contact or closing physical distance with your cat. If it’s a hard stare you might want to just slowly and silently pull away and leave the area and see if it de-escalates the situation. If your cat is uncomfortable or agitated try to figure out what could cause it.

As long as the cat seems relaxed there’s usually nothing to worry about. However if there is a situation inside the house that’s creating a stressful environment for your cat and it shows in their body language you are going to negatively affect the cat’s well being. Sudden and loud noises are major stressors for cats who tend to stay alert even when they are relaxed. Cats will react to any sudden surprises with sometimes surprising urgency. Even though their overreaction can sometimes be unintentionally funny it should never be done for anyone’s entertainment. If you have other pets, small children, or family members who do this you need to take any measures necessary to stop it.

If the cause of agitation is coming from conflict inside the household you need to have a talk with all the parties involved for the sake of your pets and lay down some ground rules so that the humans don’t hurt cats, pets, and even children with their arguments or fighting. Other sources of stress are house parties where sudden laughter, loud music, accidents (like shattering glasses) or even fights among attendants might happen. Another situation that can aggravate cats are a group of people watching and cheering on a sports event. These events end up forcing cats to ride an emotional roller coaster along with the humans without any context (although your cat might enjoy chasing balls on the screen).

Every cat is different in how they handle these types of stimuli but as a general rule you need to consider keeping your cats away from the mayhem in a comfortable room with access to their litter, food, water, and a source of entertainment (toys, other cats, window, etc.).


Did you feed your cat? Did you change their cat food brand and they haven’t touched it after a nibble or two? Have they run out of food? Do they just happen to be close to their eating area or the place where you store the food? Or maybe your cat wants a tasty treat? Are they glancing back and forth between you and their bowl? The great thing about this one is it’s pretty easy to figure out.


Return the gaze but slow blink. Staring back with slow blinks are like showering the cat with soft kisses and much more effective. Actually kissing some cats with your mouth can be quite dangerous and many cats will block you hard with their front paws. Slow blinks are a great way to bond with your cat because cats will blink back to return the affection. Make note of the tempo and timing of how the cats blink back for even greater affect.


There’s a chance that your cat just thinks your weird or interesting. Cats are very curious about things and are known to enjoy observing things like watching the outside from a window. There’s also a chance that they are trying to figure out if you’re available because they miss interacting with you or you are busy with something (especially if you work from home).


You’re in their spot. Cats will claim any part of the house they enjoy relaxing. Many of us will have our favorite chair or cushion claimed by our cat and are no longer welcome to use it. Cats can be quite persistent in staring you down until you get the hint and get out of their way.

They Need Your Help

Did they get their toy stuck under furniture? Are they stuck in a spot they don’t know how to get out of? Maybe they want to fetch something that is out of reach.

Just Bored

Cats follow their own schedule. Cats might be looking for excitement after a long nap or just want to do something with you. Providing your cat with adequate stimulation is key to keeping your cat happy and stress free. Leaving your cat bored all the time can negatively affect your cat’s health and harm your relationship.

They have a Health Issue

Cats are notoriously good at hiding their weakness. There could be something wrong with them health wise. Make sure there are no external signs of injury like scars or bald patches. Also take note of how they walk, jump, and run. Is their gait off? Are they limping? If they look fine try to see if there are any behavioral changes. Do they seem lethargic or not acting their usual self? Do you notice any weird smells or discharges? Is there anything unusual about their urine or droppings? Are they eating right? If it does seem like a health issue after all, there’s really no way avoid a quick trip to the veterinarian.

You Accidentally Trained Them to Stare at You

Whatever the cause staring is one of the ways your cat will initiate communication with you. Cats will learn from your reactions and might use it to get more of what they want. These non-verbal forms of communication are precious sources of information to make sure your cat is happy and healthy. Although cats can be sometimes demanding and seemingly selfish, they are at heart loving and delicate creatures that live off of your love. You might need to find a balance or work a little harder to figure out a compromise but keeping the channels open and giving your cat confidence that they can count on you for help when they need it is essential and your duty as a cat parent.