Excited Cats is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

Why Does My Cat Stare at the Wall? 6 Reasons for This Behavior

Vet approved

	Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Cats often do things that make us owners scratch our heads. One such behavior might have you asking, “Why do cats stare at walls?” Sometimes it can seem a bit spooky, and you might wonder if your cat can see something you can’t. Below, we’ll discuss six reasons why your favorite feline stares at walls.

cat face divider 2

The 6 Reasons Why Cats Stare At Walls

1. Your Cat Has Heard Something That You Can’t

Cats have sensitive hearing and can easily detect small sounds that pass us by. We’ve heard stories of families finding rodents or raccoons making nests in their walls after they were alerted to a specific spot by their cat staring at it!

If your cat’s ears are pricked toward the wall and appear fiercely concentrating, they may be listening to something you can’t hear, such as the sound of a family member’s car arriving home. While it looks like they’re staring at the wall, they’re concentrating on figuring out what the sound is.

cat sitting while staring
Image Credit: Thomas Bormans, Unsplash
thematic break

2. Your Cat Has Better Vision Than You

Cats can see far better than we can. Their peripheral vision extends to 200 degrees, compared to our 180-degree vision. Cats can also see specific wavelengths of light that we can’t, including ultraviolet light. Their eyes have more rods too, which are the cells responsible for helping see in low-light conditions. While cats can’t technically see in complete darkness any better than we can, they can see much better when there’s only a tiny amount of light.

Your cat might be watching small particles of dust as they move in subtle air currents or a tiny insect that’s all but invisible to you. So, when they’re staring at the wall, your cat may have spotted something you simply can’t see!

thematic break

3. Your Cat’s Brain Works Differently Than Yours

Feline brains are wired differently than ours, and cats often stop what they’re doing and appear to freeze as they’re trying to figure something out. This can sometimes turn into a blep, which we all know as that cute face cats make when they forget to put their tongue back in their mouth. After a while, they usually give themselves a little shake and go about their day as normal.

Cats are intriguing animals who sometimes have odd interests and indulge in unusual behavior. Understanding them might be tough but providing a toy that fosters their instinctual needs and curiosities is simple.The Hepper Hi-Lo Cat Scratcher encourages playtime and offers a cat-appropriate place to scratch. 

cat in living room playing with hepper hi-lo cat scratcher while in highest position

It’s unique 3-position design and cardboard scratch pad allow your cat to explore different levels, improves their health, satisfies natural feline impulses, and deters your cat from delving into places they should not. Show your cat how much you love and appreciate their quirks by gifting them the Hepper Hi-Lo Cat Scratcher.

thematic break

4. Your Cat Is Getting Older

If your senior cat is staring at the wall and appears confused or disoriented, they may be suffering from cognitive decline. This is an inevitable part of growing old for some cats. Your vet will be able to provide personalized advice on how best you can care for your elderly cat at this point.

When Staring at the Wall Is a Problem

Most of the time, a cat staring at the wall isn’t a problem. After a few moments, they usually return to doing whatever they did before. However, staring at the wall can signify something more serious. Always seek veterinary advice if you’re concerned about your cat staring at the wall.

thematic break

5. Your Cat May Have Hyperesthesia

Vets aren’t exactly sure what causes hyperesthesia, but besides staring at the wall, cats affected by this condition may show the following signs:

  • Skin rippling
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Loud howling or meowing
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Excessive grooming, especially the base of the tail

It’s thought that reducing your cat’s anxiety by maintaining a routine and avoiding overstimulation can help control hyperesthesia. Your vet will likely want to conduct extensive tests before diagnosing this condition, and most cats can lead perfectly normal lives with a few minor adjustments to their home environment.

Poor old sick cat with hematoma on ear and inflammated eyes
Image Credit: pohanka.photo, Shutterstock
thematic break

6. Head Pressing

If you notice your cat pressing their forehead firmly against the wall and not moving away, seek veterinary advice immediately. Head pressing can be a sign of a serious illness, including:

  • Infectious diseases
  • Brain tumors
  • Toxic poisoning
  • Metabolic disorders

Many cats that are seen head pressing also present other signs like:

  • Compulsive pacing or circling
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Vision problems, including dilated pupils
  • Excessive vocalization

3 cat face divider

Head Pressing Versus Head Butting

Don’t confuse head pressing with head butting. Cats will often briefly head butt things, including us, as a normal way of leaving their scent pheromones on areas of their territory.

Cat head against the wall
Image Credit: puha dorin, Shutterstock

3 cat face divider

What Should Owners Do if Their Cat Is Staring at the Wall?

Most of the time, your cat staring at the wall isn’t anything to worry about. They’ve simply seen or heard something that we can’t hear. Or, something is going on in that feline brain that is giving them pause for thought.

Ensuring your cat has enough enrichment and interest around the house can keep them happy and healthy. You can distract your cat from their staring session by encouraging them to play or setting up a bird-watching station so they can stare out of the window instead.

Occasionally, staring at the wall can signify a more serious medical condition. If in doubt, it’s always best to seek the advice of your vet. They can give your cat a complete examination and develop a healthcare plan if your cat’s staring habits indicate an illness or injury.

See also:

submit a pet ec himalayan

thematic break

Featured Image: Galexia, Shutterstock