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Do cats watch humans?

Why Does My Cat Stare at Me?

A tabby cat looking at the camera

While pet owners might find it convenient if cats could talk to them to express wants and needs, most cats only offer audible feedback in the form of meowing, trilling or hissing. But cats also provide lots of nonverbal communication , including stares, blinks, headbutts and rubs to make their affection known. Find out some reasons why your kitty might be staring at you.

Your Kitty Might Be Hungry

It might seem like your kitty is trying to employ elaborate mind control when she stares at you. You might wonder if your feline friend is trying to telegraph that it’s time for a treat of favourite chicken-flavoured kibble, and you’re not completely off base. According to Jean-François Savard, Purina pet behaviour scientist, your cat may just be letting you know she’s hungry by making eye contact, especially if she’s doing it while sitting near her food area.

Your Cat Stares at You to Show Affection

Ever heard the saying that the eyes are the window to the soul? Cats can use staring as a nonverbal way of communicating. Even though a long, unblinking stare may not be the best way for humans to show affection , when your fur baby does this, it may mean they’re showing love to their favourite owner.

And when a loving stare is coupled with cat «eye kisses,» which is when a cat stares with half-closed eyelids and offers a few slow blinks, it means your kitty is showing some serious adoration for you.

Furthermore, your cat may be staring at you simply because you are the centre of her universe and she likes to see what you’re up to, whether it’s food-related or otherwise.

Pay Attention to Body Language

While a cat’s stare can convey a lot about what she might be feeling or thinking, it’s important to consider your kitty’s body language as well.

Happy, Relaxed Posture

If she’s snuggled up next to you and offering slow blinks along with her stares, it’s safe to assume she’s happy and showing affection.

If her body language is generally loose and relaxed as she stares, you can safely assume she’s happy and just trying to get your attention or say she loves you.

Agitated Body Language

However, if her tail is swishing, her ears are turned to the side and her pupils are dilated, this is indicative of a cat who might be upset. In this case, she might be trying to tell you that she needs some space.

If this happens, you can try distracting your cat and redirecting her attention to another activity. To help defuse tension and break eye contact, you can try tossing a toy or small object across the room to get your kitty to chase it. When she appears calmer, you can try engaging her in an activity she actually likes.

Scared Kitty

If your cat is staring at you with dilated pupils while she’s crouched with her tail tucked under her or if she’s hiding under a couch or behind another piece of furniture, it could be a sign of fear. Sometimes, you can accidentally spook your kitty with a loud noise , like cheering during a football game or dropping a kitchen pan accidentally.

In these cases, she may be keeping an eye out for danger while staring, as this is something cats do in the wild to remain aware of predators.

To help alleviate her fears avoid approaching her directly. Instead, try tossing some of her favourite treats in her direction, such as the tasty options found in Friskies Party Mix .

Cats are very smart, and over time, they may learn to stare at their owners as a way of getting their attention. Whether they’re hungry, scared or just letting you know they love you, there are many reasons cats may stare at their people.

Cats and the Paranormal: Can Cats See Things Humans Can’t?

If you are a cat parent, you’ve probably witnessed times when your kitty stares off into space as if as if they can see paranormal things your eyes can’t see.

There are other times when your cat’s gaze is uncomfortably trained on you as if he can read your mind. Other times your kitty gets an unprovoked sudden burst of energy in the middle of the night?

You probably know that cats have more developed senses than human beings. However, is this enough to explain the phenomenon of staring at none existent things with such intent, concern, awe, and wonder?

So the million-dollar question to our furry friends is, “what on earth, or out of this earth are you seeing?” That is a great question, however, we are quite sure that they will not be able to respond.


1. Seeing In The Dark

The human eye has a very poor vision in low lighting; cats beat us when it comes this. They can see quite well is low lighting. As such, it is safe to say that during the night, they can see things we cannot see.

However, they cannot see in complete darkness because just like other animals, their eyes depend on the presence of some light. This brings us to the next question.

2. Are They Seeing Ghosts or Something Paranormal?

We’ve all heard the stories of cats seeing ghosts especially when a loved one has recently passed on.

Some claim that they have seen their cat bat at the air with their paws like they are fighting something while your cat is hissing, meowing, and making other strange noises, trying to jump in the air, or chasing invisible things.

We cannot ascertain whether or not the cat is actually seeing a ghost. We can debate this for the rest day but at the end of it all, we will still not have a concrete answer.

However, we do have an alternative explanation for this behavior.

3. What Does Science Say About It?

Science presents us with a logical explanation that proves that cats can see things that humans can’t. It all boils down to the fact that cats can see ultraviolet (UV) light and a couple of other light rays that cannot be seen by the naked human eye.

This whole set of light, seen only by cats and other animals could also potentially represent the energetic fields and auras that surround us, our entire being and our hearts as well. Have you noticed that animals like cats and dogs do avoid some people? It is highly likely that they can sense negative energy from them and are repelled by it.

Moreover, it is possible that cats and humans perceive similar things differently. For instance, reflections and shadows do stimulate our naturally curious companions while we tend to ignore them.

This is because we rationalize the same phenomenon differently. For instance, to us, car headlights are just that, but to our feline friends, they are a mysterious set of bouncing lights.

Besides having a sharper eyesight, their noses an ears can pick smells and sounds that we humans can’t. As such, it is possible that one or more of these senses is drawing them to that spot on the ceiling or that spot in the air; and obviously, their gaze does follow suit.

4. Why Is Your Cat Staring At You?

This one does get a lot of us perturbed, especial when that kitty gives you an unblinking stare. This might leave you wondering, “is there a mouse on my head, or tuna on my face or is he plotting my demise?”

Here’s some good news; chances are, your cat is not planning to kill you and he also cannot read your mind. Your cat is just observing you; you are their parent, you take care of them, and feed them.

A cat is a naturally curious animal, thus watching you is entertaining for them and is also a way of bonding with you. Moreover, cats rarely blink, thus it is easy to mistake a normal gaze for a hard cold stare.

Now, back to the question whether cats see paranormal things such as ghosts? It depends whether you believe in them in the first place.

However, we can confidently confirm that our feline friends can see things we can’t, thanks to their heightened natural senses.

About the author

Erick Dimalanta

I’m just a regular awesome guy that loves everything about Bengal Cats. I have two Bengal sisters that keep my wife and I busy all day. One of our Bengals named Xena eventually went blind at a young age. Which inspired me to create this blog. 🙂


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Marco DeLuca says:

My cat likes to sleep up near me sometimes at night but because I’m a restless sleeper, she doesn’t stay there. She has this habit of staring into space, a deadpan stare at something in the room I don’t and can’t see; then she’ll get down and start following it. I decided the last time she did this that enough was enough and I took out my phone and put in camera mode and video recorded the dead air she was staring at. When I played it back I captured what she was seeing and it made the hairs on my neck stand up! I caught tiny white orbs floating about and some were really fast that you’d have to look several times to catch and freeze frame it. And if that wasn’t bad enough, she has this habit at night of going into the hallway and she literally says “hello!”; as if she was talking to something in the hall. I had a male Himalayan that did the same thing at night, usually around 3am every morning. First time I heard this I thought someone was in the house until I realized it was him saying “hello!” Cats are my favorite animal but there are times that they can really creep you out.

Erick Dimalanta says:

Wow. Thanks for sharing Marco. That’s really creepy. I would love to see that video if you are comfortable sharing it. I do believe cats can really sense and see things we can’t.

Mary says:

Thank you for sharing…I believe our cat friends see things we cannot, and I love reading what other people experience with their cats Lately since my Daughter passed away Nov 01st ,she was 26 I find myself really intrigued with reading about Spirits and NDE, & the after life. I have 2 card also and they both see something I don’t , thank you again for sharing, I need to try the camera & see if I can see anything… Sudbury, Ontario

Peter & Maggie Wilson says:

We have just adopted a two year old large white cat. She seems to have come from a good home with two children. But they had little time now to really look after her.
By the way she was initially a rescue cat!
We have only only had her for 3 & 1/2 days and are wondering how long will it be before she settles in as though this is new home? We are a recently retired couple.

Kitty see, kitty do: cat imitates human, in first scientific demonstration of behavior

A cat stands on two legs and looks at a woman.

Ebisu may be the world’s first literal copycat. Researchers have shown the Japanese feline can imitate the actions of her owner under controlled scientific conditions. The ability has only been seen in a handful of creatures, and the find could suggest imitation arose relatively early in mammal evolution.

«It’s really exciting,» says Kristyn Vitale, a cat cognition researcher and animal behaviorist at Unity College. «People think of cats as solitary and antisocial,» she says. «But this study reinforces the idea that they’re watching us and learning from us.»

The find came about via a lucky happenstance. Claudia Fugazza, an ethologist at Eötvös Loránd University, had been studying dog cognition for nearly 10 years using «Do as I do» training. In this method, a researcher first trains a dog or other animal to copy a behavior it already knows—such as rolling over—by saying «Do as I do,» demonstrating the behavior, and then saying «Do it!» The dog is then rewarded for its success. Over time, the animal learns that «Do it!» means «copy me.» The approach can be used to test whether animals can truly imitate—that is, copy actions they have never done before, such as ringing a bell.

Fugazza, who is also a dog trainer, was working with Fumi Higaki, a dog trainer in Ichinomiya, Japan, when Higaki told her she had trained one of her cats with «Do as I do.» The feline, an 11-year-old female named Ebisu (after the Japanese god of prosperity) lived in Higaki’s pet store and was highly food motivated, making her easy to train. «She often snuck into my dog training classes because she knew the people there had good treats,» Higaki says.

Fugazza had wanted to study imitation in other species, and here, shockingly, was a cat that apparently already had the required training. But Ebisu was spooked by strangers. So Higaki conducted the experiments in the evenings at her pet shop, while Fugazza supervised from the far end of the room.

Higaki showed that Ebisu could copy familiar actions, like opening a plastic drawer and biting a rubber string. Then she asked the cat to imitate two new behaviors. While standing before Ebisu, who sat on a countertop next to a cardboard box, Higaki raised her right hand and touched the box. At other times, she bent down and rubbed her face against the box.

In 16 subsequent trials, Ebisu accurately copied her owner more than 81% of the time, the team reports this month in Animal Cognition (see video, above). The fact that the cat used her paw and face to touch the box when her owner used her hand and face, respectively, indicates she was able to «map» her owner’s body parts onto her own anatomy, the team says.

Fugazza says only dolphins, parrots, apes, and killer whales have so far been shown to imitate people. Cats having the same ability, she says, suggests it may be widespread in the animal kingdom, evolving early in animal evolution. And even though the study was conducted on a single cat, Fugazza thinks it’s likely that most cats can imitate people. «I don’t think Ebisu was a genius.»

But Claudio Tennie, an ethologist at the University of Tübingen who has studied cognition in dogs and primates, is not impressed. He says it’s impossible to tell from the study whether cats have an innate ability to imitate humans, or whether the intensive «Do as I do» training gave them the skill. «We can train bears to ride motorcycles,» he says. «That doesn’t mean bears ride motorcycles.»

Tennie also notes that both imitations—touching a box with a paw and rubbing a face against a box—are actions a cat might do anyway. And Ebisu may have simply rubbed her face against the box to mask her owner’s scent, he says. «I’m not convinced we’re seeing true imitation.»

Vitale is more optimistic. A few years ago, one of her cats, Bo, started to press a call bell after he saw Vitale do it. «Hopefully other people will replicate this work so we know how widespread this is in cats,» she says.

Unfortunately, that won’t be possible with Ebisu. She developed kidney disease last year and died in June.

Still, co-author Adam Miklosi, a cognitive ethologist at Eötvös Loránd, says more studies on man’s most finicky friend are coming. The research with Ebisu, he says, reveals new ways to train and do cognition experiments with cats, which have been notoriously hard to study. The paper reinforces, for example, that cats—unlike dogs—are likely to show their true abilities only if their owner is present. «We could learn a lot from Ebisu.»

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