Is it rude to stare? Well, not all the time for us cats! I'm a communicative kitty, and I will often meow at my human if I want to go outside - and she does seem to get the message! But she does struggle with understanding my stare sometimes!
There are several different reasons why we stare at humans. Let me explain:
Why Cats Stare
I've learned that staring gets attention
Staring doesn't come naturally to me, but over a period of time I have learned that if I stare at my human they will feed me or give me a treat. It first happened by accident, really; it was coming up to my mealtime and I confess I was beginning to feel a bit hungry, so I hung around the kitchen and caught my human's eye. She made an educated guess that I was hungry so she fed me! So now she thinks I'm asking for food or a treat every time I stare at her when I'm in the kitchen, result!
I am annoyed
My human knows when to back off! If I'm not happy or feel a little stressed, I will stare at the same time as I swish my tail and she knows that I want to be left alone. So the best thing to do is leave me alone, so that I can find my safe hiding place until I feel more like interacting.
I am curious
I am curious by nature, and although I like to be left alone, I do like to know what's going on in my home. Often I will sit on the kitchen table and stare at my human, watching what she's doing. She's always busy, when she works from home on her laptop, I will try and help her by jumping onto her lap! I love to appear on virtual calls!
I'm showing affection
My human is very good to me. She makes sure that I have everything I need, so I like to show her that I love her and that she makes me feel safe. I do that by staring at her, and blinking slowly. I've seen humans wink at each other, and I suppose it's similar, but I do it with both eyes, slowly. We call them 'eye-kisses' and she has learned to do it right back at me!
Read my body language
Cats are never going to learn to talk, so humans have to learn to read our body language. If you are confused and haven't quite understood the exact reason why we are staring at you, have another look:
- If I'm sitting with my legs tucked under my body while I'm staring, I am feeling chilled out.
- If I'm laying down and staring at you, I might be trying to get your attention and would quite like you to interact with me.
- If I'm staring and my pupils are dilated, my ears are flat to the side of my head and my tail is swishing, I'm probably agitated and feeling nervous. It could be a loud noise from outside or it could be the washing machine going into a spin.
Humans should also remember that all cats are different - I know that I'm different from that ginger cat three doors down. She stares at her human when they're asleep, just in case they wake up and fancy some playtime! But I think I'll just continue with my 'eye-kisses' to let my human know I love her.