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Answers from vets about your cat:

Why Does My Cat Stare at Me?

Reviewed by Dr. Alexis Seguin, DVM, MS, DACVIM on Thursday, October 8, 2015
Posted December 08, 2014 in Cat Behavior

Cat staring

We love cats, and in the United States, 1 out of every 3 homes has a cat, with 74-96 million cats owned. When it comes down to it, you really know that, It’s a Cat’s World… You Just Live In It, right? While we’d like to think that we’ve domesticated cats, they likely domesticated us.

People haven’t been able to take the predator drive out of our feline friends. If you’ve ever noticed an outdoor cat, they are able to stalk and hunt incredibly well (which is one of the reasons why I like to keep them indoors – so they don’t kill too many songbirds!). Click here for compelling safety reasons to keep your cat inside. If your cat is indoors, you may notice her stalking a spider, insect, or cat toy.

So why is my cat staring at me?
Most likely, your cat is checking you out and stalking you. While I don’t want to anthropomorphize what’s really going on in your cat’s head while she stares at you, I often feel it’s due to the predator’s instinct.  

Chalk this up with your cat’s curious nature. Your cat is staring as she literally checks you over. Personally, I believe cats are trying to mind control us into feeding them. "I’m staring at you so you feel guilty and feed me more." Don’t fall for it – give them some entertainment and environment enrichment instead, and let them take out their predator’s stare on a Buster® Cube or Roll-a-Treat ball instead.

Medical causes of staring
Rarely, medical causes can result in the staring appearance. Several leading causes of death in cats may be associated, including chronic medical problems such as:

If untreated, severe hypertension (e.g., high blood pressure) can result. Normal systolic blood pressure for a cat should be approximately 120 mm Hg (similar to humans); if it climbs over 180-200 mm Hg, ocular injury can occur. With high blood pressure, the retina (the “film” of the back of the eye that causes the appearance of “red eye” can detach [called a retinal detachment], causing a dilated pupil. It may look like your cat is staring. If you notice constantly dilated pupils and staring, get to a veterinarian for a blood pressure check.

Otherwise, chalk it up to your cat’s predatory drive and attempt to guilt you into something…

Return to, "6 Strange Cat Behaviors Finally Explained" >>

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

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Justine has more than 18 years of experience in the veterinary industry and is a board-certified emergency critical care veterinary specialist and toxicologist as well as the CEO and founder of Vetgirl. She is also a founding member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.