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Why you should never look into a cat’s eyes. Is it ever dangerous? Myths and truths

It’s easy to become mesmerized by a cat’s eyes and find yourself gazing into them. Somewhere in the back of your memory, you might recall being told staring at a cat is something to avoid at all costs. There are several theories as to why.

A cat’s eyes are windows to the underworld. Looking into them gives you a glimpse of untold evil, releasing it to bestow bad fortune upon you. At one time in history, people would not look into a cat’s eyes because they feared they would be cursed forevermore.

Today we have better insights into a cat’s psyche and are aware there are valid reasons not to hold their gaze for any length of time.

Why looking into a cat’s eyes is bad etiquette

If you look straight into a cat’s eyes without blinking, it will believe you are challenging its dominance. A dominant cat will find this very unsettling.

Try to avoid a staring contest with a cat as it will translate this as threatening behavior. The first to look away is the loser!

It is not always a bad thing to look into a cat’s eyes but if you do, be sure to add constant breaks to direct eye contact by introducing regular slow blinking and even a yawn as these are friendly signals to your feline friend.

Red tabby cat staring

What does it mean if a cat looks you in the eyes?

We are wary of staring at cats but they don’t seem so concerned about staring at us. As well as its voice, a cat’s eyes are a useful method of communication.

If your cat is staring at you, it may want you to do something for it. All you have to do is decide what this might be. Where you are and the time of day can be a clue.

Staring cats in the kitchen

If you’re preparing food or making a drink and you feel two eyes burning into your back, your cat would probably like you to give it a meal.

Some cats meow and weave in and out of our legs to signal they would like something to eat but some stare silently, hoping we will take the hint.

If it isn’t mealtime, and you know your cat is well fed, don’t feed it. Give it some attention to distract it.

Cats watching you work

If your cat watches you as you work, knit, clean, or generally go about your daily business, it is just demonstrating its naturally curious nature. Cats hate to miss anything and will often trail after you to watch what you’re up to.

Sometimes this behavior indicates your cat is bored and wants your attention and it will disrupt what you’re doing by laying all over it. Keyboards, newspapers, paperwork nothing is safe.

A 10-minute play session is a perfect solution and you should then be able to continue what you were doing.

Loving cat stares

If your cat stares at you and follows this with a slow blink, you can bet it loves and trusts you. You should return the compliment by staring then blinking back.

If your cat blinks at you it is demonstrating absolute trust. Any time a cat’s eyes are not open, it is lowering its guard. It only does this in front of someone t feels totally safe around.

Cat with enlarged pupils

What does it mean if a cat looks at you with big eyes?

If a cat’s eyes are big this means they are as wide open as possible and often have enlarged (dilated) pupils. This lets more light in and allows a cat to really focus on whatever it is looking at.

There are three reasons for a cat to have big, black round eyes:

  • the light is low
  • it is excited
  • it is frightened or nervous
  • a sign of affection

The first thing to look at is a cat’s body language if its pupils are dilated. This will help you to determine the mood it is in.

In low light, a cat’s pupils automatically dilate to let in more light. The color in their irises is almost hidden and their eyes appear as large black circles.

If it’s not dark and your cat’s eyes look large and black, it might be excited. These are often might be referred to as big eyes or naughty eyes. Cats get excited when they play, act mischievously, or hunt.

If a cat’s eyes have large pupils as it stares at you and it’s also rubbing around your legs and purring, then the big eyes are most likely a sign of affection. Your cat is showing you how much it loves you.

Understanding cat communication methods tells us that a cat’s eyes are a very useful tool it uses for non-verbal communication.

Can cats see into your soul?

Some cat owners believe that if you look into a cat’s eyes it can see into their soul if it stares back. This myth is rooted in ancient history where cats were believed to be familiars or supernatural entities.

Believe this is true if you’d like to. If a cat could see into your soul all it would see is how much you idolize it!

Why are cat’s eyes so creepy?

Our eyes have circular pupils and we consider these to be normal. Because a cat’s eyes have vertical slit pupils, they are unusual and bewitching. I would never go as far as to call them creepy.

A cat’s pupils are designed as they are to allow more light in even when they are not dilated. This helps them to focus and keep a watch for danger at all times.

Cat’s have mysterious and haunting eyes. You can almost feel them burning into you – at least this is what some people think.

cat with small pupils

Do cats know when you are staring at them?

When you own a cat you can almost feel it staring at you when your back is turned. Likewise, a cat knows when you are staring at it.

Cats have sharp hearing and even if you are silent, their whiskers sense air movement and send a message to their brain to let them know someone is approaching.

No matter how stealth-like you are, you can bet your life your cat knows you are staring at its back.

Why you should never look into a cat’s eyes: Conclusion

It’s not true to say that you should never look into a cat’s eyes. However, you should not be rude about it or stare in a threatening manner.

As long as you blink regularly, and occasionally yawn, you can get away with holding a cat’s gaze for some time to admire what is one of their more beautiful features.

A cat may not be able to see into your mind but its eyes are like windows to its soul.

Here are some of my favorite products for cats

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope you found it helpful whether you own a cat or are considering it. I thought I’d share a few of the cat products I love which you might find really useful too.

The following are Amazon affiliate links, and if you decide to use them, I’ll earn a small commission from Amazon at no cost at all to you.

An indoor cat tree: This is an excellent item to satisfy a cat’s urge to climb and scratch. There are several sizes to choose from so you can pick the right height for your home. Our cats love this Amazon Basics tree with multi-levels, scratching posts, and a little hideaway.

Fred and Oscar in their Amazon Basics cat tree

Drinking fountain: Cats love to drink from flowing water. Many don’t seem to drink enough so a fountain is a good way to get them interested. This Orsda Fountain is quiet, has a large capacity, and looks stylish too.

Scratcher Lounger: The more cat scratching posts you have the better. Many cats like to claw horizontally which is why we chose the PetFusion Ultimate cat scratcher. It has seen quite a bit of action from 4 Maine Coons but still looks great.