Every cat owner knows that felines can be pretty strange and mysterious creatures. For example, how often have you been minding your own business — watching TV or relaxing on the couch — only to glance down and suddenly discover two small eyes staring intently in your direction? It can honestly be a little unnerving!
According to Dr. Martin Goldstein, we don’t need to worry about our cats plotting against us when we catch them staring (even if the look seems to say otherwise). The biggest culprit is likely their tummies telling them it’s time to be fed, which they are trying to (not-so) gently remind us of with the unwavering gaze.
You’ve probably noticed an empty food bowl after a stare down now and then, so that tracks. But what about all of the times they’ve had plenty of food, water, and even a few treats and still glare?
Apparently, a cat’s innate curiosity can be another major factor in impromptu staring contests, especially if they share a strong connection with their owner. Dr. Kathryn Pimm explained to Catster, “Maybe she is using your appearance to help her choose how she should respond to something, and also sharing with you how she feels about it… Your shared look can reaffirm your bond and assure the social stability of your group.” Basically, getting stared at by our cats can actually be a super sweet gesture!
It’s similar to the way felines love to lay on top of their favorite humans or hover around our computer keyboards while we work. They just want to know what we’re doing at all times while also getting plenty of attention in return.
Another tip: Try slowly blinking at your cat if you notice their eyes locked in on you. According to experts, that’s one of the best ways to say “I love you” and get the same adorable message back from them.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.