The 7 Reasons Why Your Kitten Stares at You

Your kitten stares at you because they are:

  • Hungry
  • Showing affection
  • Seeking your attention or comfort
  • Curious about what you are up to
  • Angry
  • Sick

Your kitten can stare at you as you sleep because they are active at night, and want you to wake up and play with them.

Play with your cat or feed it to discourage staring.

Kittens usually meow, trill, and purr to tell us what they want and express how they are feeling.

But they also provide lots of nonverbal communication, including stares when interacting with us.

In this article, I will provide you with the reasons why your kitten stares at you. If you find it uncomfortable, keep reading to know how to discourage the behavior.


1. Your kitten might be hungry

Kittens have differing personalities. Some kittens will meow loudly when hungry, but the more reserved ones will stare at you, especially when you are eating to remind you it’s time for their favorite treat.

Your kitten might be just letting you know they are hungry by making eye contact. Some kittens will stare at their owners while they sit next to their food bowls.


What to do

Kittens need to eat at least 3 or 4 times a day. According to Jennifer Larsen, a nutritional consultant, kittens are snackers at heart.

That means eating is a comfort thing for a kitten. Most experts recommend that you feed your kitten specially formulated food until they reach age 1.

This ensures your kitten gets all the required amount of minerals, proteins, amino acids, and vitamins to facilitate its growth.


2. To show affection

Kittens can use staring as a nonverbal way of communicating affection. Although staring might not be the best way to show affection among humans, when your little one does this, it means they are showing love to you.  

When a stare is coupled with half-closed eyelids and a slow blink, it shows your little furry friend is showing some serious adoration for you.

The gesture simply means your kitty is saying you are its favorite owner.


3. To study what you are up to

Kittens are curious creatures. They don’t want any small detail of what’s going on in their environment to escape their notice.

Your kitten can stare at you to study you, watch if you are about to serve its meal, observe your mood, and everything else they might want to investigate.

Your kitten looks up to you for food, comfort, and play. As a favorite owner, they want to see how you feel so they can react in kind.

If whatever you are doing arouses your kitten’s interest, they will continue to stare.

By observing your emotions, actions, and body language, your kitten gains confidence and knows how to perceive its surroundings.


4. They need you to solve their insecurities

Once you adopt a kitten, they view you as their motherly figure. Your cat depends on you for food, warmth, and comfort. You are also its main play companion.

You provide all these things for your pet, and it is only reasonable for them to view you as their everything.

An unfamiliar sound or odor from you can make your kitten feel confused and insecure, making them at stare at you.

Kittens also experience a wide range of emotions, just like humans. Your kitten can stare at you because they feel insecure, and don’t know how to react.


5. Seeking comfort when stressed

We have been used to kitties being vocal when there is something wrong. But staring is also a way your kitten could pass a message when they are stressed or in pain.

Sometimes your kitten will not snuggle up to you but will just sit and stare. The facial expression could be described as a grimace; staring into space.

New pets or furniture in the house can also stress a kitten.


6. Agitated or angry

If you’re forcing your kitten to be bathed, groomed, or to be held, they can get very angry and agitated.

They consider these to be unauthorized activities. Chances are, they are not going to forget about these any time soon. If you catch your kitten staring at you afterward, they are probably sulking. 

For instance, cats hate bathing because of what water does to their fur. For creatures that like to groom themselves, wet fur is extremely uncomfortable, and takes a long time to dry.


7. They are bored and want to be entertained

Staring can be your kitten’s way of saying they are bored, and hoping you will provide some form of entertainment.

Besides demanding playtime, your kitten could also find enjoyment in watching whatever you are doing.

Kittens will look up to their owners for social interaction. And don’t forget that these are energetic and playful creatures, much more than adult cats.

Playing is a form of kitten exercise and can help them develop their hunting instincts. Besides, a healthy kitten is a happy kitten.


What to do

Play with your kitten every day for at least 20 minutes. This provides it with both physical and mental stimulation.  

While playing with your kitten, here are important tips to help the both of you enjoy the moment:

  • Play with your kitten before going to bed, so they will be ready to sleep when you are. You don’t want to engage in a staring contest when you want to sleep.
  • Interactive play is the best way to keep your kitten responsive and strengthen the bond between the two of you.
  • The best time to play with kittens is in the morning and evening.
  • Don’t offer your body parts as toys.

Kittens are intelligent creatures. As they live with you, they have learned to stare, whether it’s for attention, demand for playtime, say they are hungry, or simply to show affection.


Staring Shows a Kitten Has Imprinted on you

When a kitten imprints on you, it means they have chosen you to be their favorite human. You may notice your kitten treats you differently from other members of the household.

For instance, it may treat you like another cat; replicating behaviors they normally do with other cats when with you.

Besides staring, your cat may knead on you, rub against you, and blink their eyes slowly.

Your kitten may also follow you everywhere, even into the bathroom. Most cat owners recognize this as a definite sign that their kitten has imprinted on them.


Why your Kitten Stares and Purrs

Sometimes your kitten will stare at you while purring. Those eyes are trying to tell you something because this is a form of communication.

Here is how to translate the staring, purring, and probably a bit of soft meowing too.


1. They are happy and content

Kittens will purr and stare at their owners or other household members as an expression of happiness and contentment. As cat owners, we all recognize a purr as a sign of a happy and relaxed feline.

So when your cat combines a stare with this gentle rumbling sound, it means they are really happy to be around their favorite person, which happens to be you.

It is your kitten’s way of making a connection with you. Since your little one knows that you are the one who feeds and cuddles them, it wants to prove that they care about you.

This action of staring and purring is the good news that your pet is happy.


2. Claiming ownership of you

Kittens can be very social and affectionate creatures. When your kitten stares and purrs at you, they are saying ‘you are mine, and I love it.’


3. They want some attention from you

Cat owners with a busy schedule often have little time to bond with their pets. If this describes you, it could be then that your kitty is purring while staring because they need some attention from you

They could also make their point across by pawing at your hands or legs. You can take this time to bond with your kitten through play, massaging them, or petting them.


4. They are not feeling well

If the stare looks wide-eyed or pleading, it is an important sign that your kitten is not feeling well, or is hurt.

Purring helps cats feel better, and your furry friend can be staring at the same time to let you know all is not well.


Watch Kitten’s Body Language when Staring

While a cat’s stare can convey a lot about what might they might be thinking, it’s important to consider their body language as well.


  • Happy relaxed posture

If your kitty is snuggled up next to you and staring at you, while also offering slow blinks, it’s safe to assume they are happy and relaxed.

The stare is simply a way to show affection. If their general body language is loose and relaxed while staring, they are just trying to say ‘I love you.’


  • Agitated body language

If your cat stares while swishing its tail from side to side and pupils dilated, they might be upset. It also indicates that your kitten needs some space.

Certain things can irritate a kitten, such as car rides, pushy petting, being denied victory after a game session, and sudden movement.

You can try to stop whatever you are doing that annoys your kitten, and redirect their attention to something else.

Try throwing a ball across the room for your kitty chase. This is a clever way to break eye contact, and help them calm down.


  • Scared body language

If your kitty is staring at you with dilated pupils while hiding under a couch or behind furniture, it is a sign of fear.

Perhaps you have startled your kitty with loud noise from a vacuum cleaner, or cheering during a football game.

This scares your kitten, and they run to hiding while staring at you, perhaps keeping an eye out for any danger.

This is something that cats do in the wild to remain aware of predators.

Don’t approach your kitty while they are in this fearful state. To help alleviate their fears, wait for them to calm down.


Why your Kitten Stares while you Sleep

It is cute when your kitten stares at you with those innocent eyes during the day. But it can feel a bit creepy when your kitten stares at you while you are sleeping.

Let’s look at some of the reasons for this weird behavior, how to prevent this if you find it uncomfortable, and what keeps your kitten awake at night in the first place.


1. Your kitten feels it needs to protect you

The main reason why a kitten stares is because they feel bonded to you.

Now that you are family, your kitten feels it needs to protect you from people or other animals they consider to be dangerous. Funny enough, cats feel that humans can’t protect themselves.

That’s why your hyper kitten will sometimes bring you a dead rodent as a ‘gift.’ They assume you can’t hunt.

It is instinctual for felines to protect their territories and that of their owners. Your kitten stares at you while you sleep because it is watching over you.


2. The way you behave while sleeping might bother your kitten

If you normally toss and turn in your sleep, your behavior might catch your kitty’s attention.

Kittens are curious, and strange noises such as loud snores and groans can catch their attention. Such noises might annoy your kitten. They might wonder what on earth you are doing, and disapprove.

They stare at you to let you know they are not amused.

If you have sleep disorders such as restless legs or hypnic jerks, your kitten might think something is running around inside the blanket. Cats mostly see motion; because that’s food or threat

They are thus staring ready to pounce on the ‘object.’


3. Your kitten is anxious

Your kitten looks to you up for comfort. They might not like it when you are sleeping because it makes them anxious.

Your kitty might even try to nudge you to wake up because it makes them uncomfortable.


4. Your kitten wants you to wake up

It might be the time to sleep but not according to your kitten. Cats are crepuscular; active at dawn and dusk. These active times are prime for them to hunt, so your sleeping schedules are worlds apart.

Your kitten might stand beside you and stare, patiently waiting to see you open your eyes. They find that nighttime is perfect for play or feeding time.


How to Stop your Kitten’s Staring while you Sleep

Since kittens can be active at night, the best thing you can do is make sure they get enough stimulation during the day.

If your kitten spends a good time sleeping, chances are they will be active at night, staring at you, waiting for some action.

Plays helps a kitten tire out and want to rest at night. Offer them interactive toys to provide enough mental stimulation for your kitten since cats are natural hunters.

Provide toys such as scratching posts, feather wands, cat trees, and balls.

If you are not at home during the day to play with your kitten, make sure you engage in vigorous play right before bedtime. Play until your kitten seems tired.

Changing your kitten’s mealtime may also help. Try feeding them before you go to bed. They tend to sleep after a big meal, so this could save you from that bothersome stare at night demanding food.

You can use a timed cat feeder to feed your kitten while you are away.


What to Do When Kitten Won’t Stop Staring

It’s better not to rush to spoil your kitten with treats or attention every time they stare. This will just be reinforcing the behavior. Your kitten might become even more demanding.

Try to find the reasons for your kitten’s actions. Study its body language as it stares. This can tell you a lot about your kitten’s feelings, and how it perceives its surroundings.


1. Calm them down

If your kitten appears frightened or anxious, try calming it down. Avoid approaching it directly, because it might bite or scratch you.

Instead, offer treats from a distance, and wait for it to come on their own terms. After your kitten has come out of its panic state, you can pet it gently while calling its name.


2. Seek a vet

If you suspect staring is a result of a health condition or pain, visit your vet.

If the staring is accompanied by a drop in energy levels, loss of appetite, and less interest in social play, it could mean your cat is sick, and needs a vet’s attention.

They might also tell if there are causes of stress in your household that is making the kitten anxious.

Writer: Flora Ojow

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