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Do Cats Like Eye Contact? Reasons & Behaviour Explained

Cats are stealthy and observant animals, and you may often find them quietly staring at you from their favorite perch or hiding spot. Since we can’t read the mind of cats, we can only speculate why cats may stare at us and if they like it when we stare back. Experts have mixed opinions on theories on whether or not cats like maintaining eye contact with humans.

There are some theories that believe cats don’t mind or even like when humans hold their gaze. Other theories suggest that cats don’t like making eye contact and may feel threatened by it. 

Here are some possible reasons why your cat may be staring at you.


The 3 Possible Reasons Your Cat Stares At You

1. Your Cat Feels Curious

Cats are well-known for being attentive and watchful. They’re naturally curious and may be looking out for your body language. Although they’re not as in-tune with our emotions as dogs can be, cats can still read emotions and may act accordingly or in response to how we’re feeling.

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Image Credit: Henrik Veres, Pixabay
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2. Your Cat Feels Intimidated or Threatened

Cats may stare at people if they’re feeling scared or unsafe. They may not want to keep a potential threat out of their line of sight, so they remain watchful.

You can also tell if a cat’s scared if its tail is tucked underneath its body, and it’s in a crouched position. It may also be hiding behind or beneath the furniture.

Cats that feel threatened or territorial may also stare you down. Maintaining eye contact could be a way for them to establish dominance. In these circumstances, you should also look for signs of aggression, such as hissing, vocalization, and dilated pupils.

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3. Your Cat Is Showing Affection

Sometimes, cats will show affection by making eye contact with you. If you notice that your cat looks at you and blinks at you slowly, it means that it feels comfortable around you. You can also return the sentiment by giving your cat a slow blink.

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The Meaning of Your Cat’s Body Language

One of the best ways to understand your cat is to learn cat behavior and body language. Cats may display similar body language signs for different emotions, so it’s important to piece all the signs together to understand how your cat’s feeling at the moment.

For example, when a cat’s pupils are dilated, it can mean that the cat’s feeling fear, nervousness, or excitement. Narrowed pupils can indicate that a cat’s angry, confident, or calm.

Cats that feel safe in an environment may have their eyes half-closed. Their muscles will be relaxed, and they may even lay around with their belly exposed. A content cat may also rub its face or body against you as a sign of affection. Cats that are feeling playful may have dilated pupils and have their ears pointed forward. Their body will most likely be crouched, ready to pounce in a good-hearted manner.

Cats that feel fearful will have an arched back and raised tail. Cats that are angry or aggressive will lie flat with their ears flattened and may expose their teeth. They could also have one of their front paws raised if they anticipate needing to swipe or scratch.

Image Credit: mama_mia, Shutterstock

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Wrapping Up

Cats will stare at people and objects for various reasons. It could be out of curiosity, fear, defensiveness, or affection. Therefore, make sure to observe what else your cat’s doing to determine how they are feeling.

They may not say much, but cats definitely communicate with us in many ways. Responsible cat owners will take the time to understand how they communicate so that they can respond appropriately to help their cats feel safe and content.

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Featured Image: ZEMA Tatyana, Shutterstock