Cats do some weird things, though I’m sure they think the same about us. Some of my favourite odd behaviours are when cats sit like humans or how they somehow seem to follow humans into the bathroom 9 times out of 10.
But what happens if you stare at a cat? A human dead on intensely gazing at a cat with a practically-staring-contest level of determination.
Ever tried it before? With your own cats, or even random street cats?
I know you’ve probably heard before that you shouldn’t be staring at felines, though you may not necessarily recall why or how exactly it makes any difference.
Staring in the cat world is a dominance thing. If a cat’s staring down another cat, he or she is either telling the other that they in fact are the ones in charge, or similarly, that they’re challenging their authority.
So imagine a cat staring contest as an arm wrestling contest that determines who gets to be the boss for the next little while. That’s pretty much how it works in my books.
If you want to “tone down your gaze” and make it known that you’re not a threat, you can essentially, when staring, slow blink at a cat.
And I mean slow blink, don’t just close and open your eyes in a split second, I’ve seen people do this and it isn’t what you’re going for.
Cats sharing a slow blink with other cats or with humans is the equivalent of them saying, “We’re good, bro” or “I’m not starting anything, I promise.” Then both sides can chill.
But if you proper stare down a cat? Well, even then, different cats will react to humans differently. And some cats will react to different humans staring them down than others.
Here’s a bunch of reactions I’ve had to staring down cats. Cause really, who can help it – for science? 😉
Let me know if you can think of others below, or if you have cats and which way they typically veer for the ‘folks in your household.
Different Cat Reactions When You Stare at Cats
!$!%(*!#$??? Reactions Cats Have to Being Stared At
Reaction 1: Glare Back + Gets Mad & Maybe a Touch Violent
So there’s this kitten I used to take care of, Cleo…
She’s just a touch unhinged. Stupendously cute and so impossible not to fall in love with from a distance.
But she legit could destroy me, tiny little thing that she is, if I look at her the wrong way.
Speaking of looking at her the wrong way, if I literally just stare at her without blinking, she will slowly and steadily simmer, glaring back intensely, giving me a “U WOT?!” gaze that challenges me back, and then getting more and more angry over time. You can tell by the tail flinches and she visibly gets annoyed AF.
If I don’t let down and break the gaze, she’ll possibly air swing at me, as a threat to get me to stop. “Don’t tempt me bro” is all I see when she does this, and she’ll do it sometimes even if I’m way at a distance and legitimately half the room away from her.
It’s a pretty funny reaction, and I’ll typically break the tension by starting to play with her. But she’s not the biggest fan of me, so I’m not sure if she reacts this way to me alone or to everyone else. Probably the latter, depending on her mood.
Reaction 2: Run Awayyyy
I’ve not seen many cats do this lately because I pretty much know well every cat that I interact with, even the neighbourhood cats that hang around because the locals feed them grub.
But I know many or maybe even most cats will totally run away if they think you’re scary.
Maybe cause they’re not used to humans, or not used to you, or run on the side of a little bit anxious, or don’t like being picked up. Loads of reasons, but this is totally a thing.
Chill Reactions Cats Have to Being Stared At
Reaction 3: The Slow Blink Back
This is most every cat’s reaction to me when I stare at them if they like me or are cool, calm, and collected around me.
All three of my cats react to me staring at them in this way, they’ll slow blink and then I’ll typically slow blink back.
Heck, even the outdoor cats who don’t trust me anywhere near the vicinity to pet them will still trust me enough nowadays to slow blink back sometimes.
What’s it mean? They’re just letting me know we’re chill.
Or that they don’t see me as a threat. Or that I am the leader insofar as they see it and they’re not trying to challenge me to usurp me or anything along those lines.
Reaction 4: The Stare Back
I’d say the vast majority of my cats would not do this, but I have one who does this. Bjorn. He’s like my shadow, follows me around everywhere. Love him to bits.
I actually think he does it because he knows if he stares straight at me back when I stare at him, he can use that eye contact to his advantage and get cuddles.
It’s like he begs me with his eyes. Even if he’s already in my lap, he’ll stare back expectantly, hoping, wishing, praying, for some cuddles on the top of his head (I know, he’s a werido, but gotta love him).
And boy does his staring work. Who can say not to that face?
So yeah, the return prolonged stare back, a lot of times, can be a master class technique some kitties have for being pet back.
Reaction 5: The “Yeah I Don’t Care I’m Going Back to Bed”
Does this one need explaining? I don’t think so.
A cat’s chill enough with you to not even bother to do anything besides go back to bed when you’re staring, you’ve reached a good level of trust with that kitty.
Reaction 6: The “I’m Bored, I’m Leaving”
Some cats may not have already in the process of falling asleep when you rudely interrupted them and stared.
In cases like these where the cat was doing something – or I don’t know just in the middle of figuring out what to do? – well then the cat’s probably just gonna waltz off and do it’s thing when it’s bored of your staring contest and decides to break eye contact to move on with it’s life.
Don’t worry, this still means you’ve won the staring contest and that cat who’s giving you a blatant “Whatever, I don’t even care anymore” is absolutely not cooler than you or anything… Okay maybe they are, but I think cats have a distinct edge over humans in the realm of coolness contests.
Your Thoughts on Staring at Cats?
How have cats typically reacted to you staring at them?
Does this change from one cat to the next? From time to time?
Have you ever had any other cat reactions to being stared at than the ones I listed above? What are the best/worst reactions in your opinion?
Love to hear your thoughts in the comments down below!