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Ask A Vet: Why Does My Cat Stare At Me?

cat-look

Frequently when you glance up, your cat will be watching you. Some people sum this up as a “creepy stalker” type of watching, but I don’t think that is what it is at all. Think about animals overall and how they function and survive and then consider the way we humans have inserted ourselves into their habitats and their very lives. Cats are visual hunters, depending on their senses to give them information about their environment. You are a big part of your cat’s environment, providing food, shelter, protection and companionship. When you notice your cat watching you, think about why she might be interested in you, the way you look, your expression and what you are doing.

Obviously cats are naturally attuned to non-verbal communication. Maybe she is using your appearance to help her choose how she should respond to something, and also sharing with you how she feels about it. Her eyes are reading your cues and her body language may be telling you something too. She may want to be sure that you are watching her in return because you share a family group bond. Your shared look can reaffirm your bond and assure the social stability of your group.  If you are calm, she is calm. If you look on edge, she will be too.

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Cats have excellent vision (and other senses too). She knows that you are there long before she sees you, but she watches you anyway. She can tell by your body language what you plan to do. She may hope that you will instigate some play time or she might feel insecure and want to see if you do too. She could be hungry and knows that you are a good resource. She might be bored and think that you are entertaining.

We all know that “curiosity killed the cat”. Cats are notoriously nosy, so when your cat watches you, it might be just to see what you will do for entertainment.  There is always a chance that your actions will produce something that she wants, like food or attention. Our cats definitely are aware that we represent resources for them. They are tuned into their own needs to survive and they are on the alert for an opportunity to obtain the resources.  Your cat has watched you enough that she probably knows the body language you exhibit when you are about to indulge her and she wants to be ready.

Take your cat’s interest as a compliment. Not every person has the rapt attention of a feline friend. If you notice her watching you, be sure that you are being worth watching! Acknowledge her and take a moment to stroke her or speak to her. If you do (and she does not already know it), she will learn that watching you is a good pastime with its own rewards!

If you love cats, you need to click here and see what all the “fuzz” is about!

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