Hi everybody! Molly from Cat Behavior Solutions, here with your Bonding Tip of the Week. This week’s tip is all about how you look at your cat. Well, more like it’s about how your cat looks at you, and how you should respond in order to optimize that bond between the two of you.
From time to time, you’ll find your cat staring at you. And it’s cute, after all, with their perked up ears and big green, yellow, or blue eyes. You may be thinking to yourself, “Oh, now they want attention from me?” And it’s true, they could be telling you they need something, or that they want you to do something. But there’s a little more to it than that.
Why do cats stare? As I’ve mentioned in previous bonding tips, staring is a part of the hunting cycle, along with stalking, chasing, pouncing, and killing the prey. But more than that, staring is communication—and aggressive communication at that. When two cats stare at each other intently, that’s a confrontational gesture between them that says, “I’m about to attack you,” or, “I’m about to express my discomfort with you.” Cats communicate with other cats through body language and having a stare-off is an intimidation tactic meant to show who’s really boss.
While your cat may stare at you for a number of reasons, it’s important you don’t stare back. One stare every once in a while, isn’t too bad, but if you do it often enough over time, your relationship with your cat can start to deteriorate. Staring makes you seem like an aggressor or a threat, neither of which you want to be if your goal is to bond with your cat.
If you see your cat sitting there staring at you, break that gaze, because you don’t want to repeat or reflect that confrontational gesture with them. Or, better yet: do something that will stop the staring, like giving them a treat.
So, if your cat is staring at you, go ahead and break that gaze, and do something fun for them while you’re at it. Until next time, keep calm and purr on!
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