Just about every cat owner has, at one time, experienced their cat staring at them. Harmless as it might be, it’s an unsettling look. You might wonder if your pet is plotting against you in some way, or getting ready to pounce on top of your head!

Why does this cat staring happen? Is your cat just curious, or is something else going on?

What Does Cat Staring Mean?

If a human is staring at you from across the room, you’ll automatically feel uneasy. You might be annoyed, or you might be worried. This may be your reaction when your cat suddenly jumps on your chest and stares at you while you’re lying on your back in bed. But if your cat is staring at you, it’s likely harmless. They might just be protecting you, or it could be their way of reminding you that it’s feeding time.1

Cat Staring | Dr MartyCuriosity could be another reason behind a staring cat. Cats are naturally curious creatures. When they care about you, that means they’ll be interested in what you’re doing. They might keep their gaze fixed on you as you sit and watch television, or while you make yourself a sandwich in the kitchen. You might notice two tiny eyes watching your every move as you work on your laptop, too.

Another factor that may contribute to your cat staring has to do with instincts. Domesticated cats don’t have to hunt as their ancestors did, but the instincts still remain. In order to survive, ancient cats had to be constantly aware of their environment. They not only had to watch for prey, they also had to be alert for any potential dangers. Cats today still have the need to see what’s going on around them.2

And if you’re asking yourself, “Do cats blink?” the answer is “Yes.” They just don’t do it as often as we do. That certainly makes their cat stares even more intense!3

When to be Concerned About Your Cat Staring

Cat staring is completely harmless the vast majority of the time. In rare instances, however, it could be a sign of an issue. For example, there’s a strange condition known as “feline hyperesthesia syndrome” that can affect cats. They will sometimes stare at a wall for a long time, and then suddenly act in bizarre fashion. Cats with feline hyperesthesia syndrome may dart back and forth, attacking their tail and meowing or howling loudly. They may then start to aggressively groom themselves.4

If your cat is showing signs of feline hyperesthesia syndrome, make an appointment with your vet. This condition is typically not harmful, but the behavior associated with it can sometimes be an indication of a more severe health problem. Your vet can perform a thorough examination to determine exactly what is happening with your pet.5

But what if your cat is perfectly healthy, and still staring at the walls all the time?

Even though you can’t see or hear anything, your cat probably can. Cats have extremely sensitive ears, so they can hear things you usually can’t hear. A cat, for instance, can hear rodents through walls, or the creaking noises a house makes when it settles into the ground. Cats can also hear air moving through the ducts in your home.

Cat Staring | Dr MartySo, as long as your cat doesn’t exhibit any odd behavior after staring at the wall, there’s a good chance that nothing’s wrong.6

A cat’s sense of sight is also incredibly sharp. They may fixate on a speck of dust, or a tiny insect on the other side of the room. There is even evidence that cats can see wavelengths of light that are invisible to humans.7 These types of sights can be extremely entertaining to your pet.

Wrapping it Up

A cat stare can be a little awkward for a pet owner. But again, in the vast majority of instances, this behavior is harmless. And no, it’s not some form of kitty mind control! In rare cases, a cat staring at a wall, followed by agitation or aggressive grooming, can be a sign of a potential health issue. Most of the time, though, it’s a sign of affection or curiosity, and nothing to worry about.

Learn More:
How to Make Your Cat Smarter
How to Introduce Cats and Dogs
Domestication of Dogs: The Complex History of Man’s Best Friend
Rainbow Bridge Poem and Dealing With the Loss of a Pet