Sometimes my cat and I have staring contests. We lock eyes and stay that way for a few moments — it's a sweet spell of time and even feels like we're connecting and communicating with our eyes, even though in the back of my mind I'm aware he's an animal and quite possibly not capable of human-like thoughts. If you and your cat ever find yourselves holding each others' gaze, you might be wondering what your cat is thinking when they are staring at you. It may actually be deeper than you realize. Or, they may just be thinking of nothing more than kibbles and bits.
Cats are very keyed into their owners, according to Dr. Kathryn Primm, a veterinarian in Tennessee who writes for the I Heart Cats website. Dr. Primm said because you are the food and shelter provider, cats are very focused on their owner's body cues, and that's why they're always staring at you in general.
Because felines are natural predators, some of the staring can come from that as well, according to Dr. Justine A. Lee, a board-certified emergency critical care veterinary specialist in Minnesota. Writing on The Pet Health Network, Dr. Lee said the staring is all part of the "curiosity killed the cat" reputation cats have. They just want to know what's going on.
Cats will also follow your lead when it comes to emotional stability. "Your shared look can reaffirm your bond and assure the social stability of your group," Dr. Primm said. "If you are calm, she is calm. If you look on edge, she will be too."
With all of that, it's still hard not to believe there's some big time higher-level thinking going on when they look at you in a way that bores into your soul and bonds you together. But because you can't simply just ask your cat "what's up?", here are some things that your cat is probably thinking as they're watching you.