Cats do not like being stared at, presumably because it reminds them of the aggressive, mildly threatening behaviour that most of them display towards a strange cat. When they are made to feel anxious, they will remain motionless, while keeping their eyes fixed on the stranger. This may explain why cats often head for people who aren’t cat-lovers and who won’t be focusing attention on a cat, because their body language is perceived as less intimidating.
Cats have eyes that are not only beautiful but also very expressive. Staring is an important part of a cat’s body language and knowing a bit more about this will help you to understand your cat better.
When a cat stares at another cat, this is both intended and understood, in feline terms, as threatening behaviour.
STARING IT OUT
Prolonged staring usually takes place between two cats that are not familiar with one another. They may not be in the same social group and this may even be the first time that they have ever come across one another. They will probably continue in this way for a while, as if trying to stare one another out, and the one that averts its gaze first is considered to be the ‘loser’ and will probably be the first to leave the scene.
Have you ever wondered why a cat will often bestow its attentions on the one person in the room who least wants them? Everyone else is looking at the cat and making wild gesticulations with their hands, inviting the cat to come and be stroked. But, contrary as ever, the cat has other ideas and makes a beeline for the one person who is not looking at it – in other words, the person who simply can’t stand cats. If you want to dissuade a cat from sitting on your lap, it’s easy —just stare hard at it. It will almost certainly turn tail and head in the opposite direction.
Cats don’t like anyone looking them in the eye because they perceive a steady gaze as aggressive. He probably looks at your feet to see where you’re going – fridge, food cupboard, etc.
Not quite, but they can see in much dimmer light than humans can. One explanation for this is the efficiency of their pupils to dilate fully and so let in a lot of light.
Q. My cat seems to stare fixedly at something but, when I look to see what he is staring at, there’s nothing there. What is he doing?
This slightly unworldly ability to gaze into space may explain why a lot of people used to think that cats had an affinity with the occult.
- Cats’ eyes may be even more expressive than you realised. The shape of a cat’s pupils is indicative of its mood. If the pupils are dilated and are big, round and black, the cat is frightened. If, on the other hand, they contract to a narrow vertical slit, the cat is angry.
- If you show a hungry cat its usual feeding bowl, its pupils may dilate to up to four or five times the size that they were previously.
- While staring between cats is generally regarded as aggressive behaviour, cats will often stare at one another as part of the mating sequence.
Photo Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/morton/