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How do cats know?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
This is gonna sound SUPER-corny, but I wonder if some of you have ever thought about this....
How do cats know to look at our eyes?!

I mean, our mouths are where the sound comes from when we talk to them obviously...but when I talk to my babies, they look RIGHT into my EYES. My guess is that your cats do, too. I know cats are smart! But how do they know that WE see THEM with our eyes and so that's where they look when they look at us?

Told ya it would sound corny! But I often wonder these types of things!
post #2 of 17
I think it's an interesting question! Other animals do too, probably because they all have eyes of their own and it's instinct? They say eyes are the windows to the soul, so maybe they're looking at more than just our eyes!
post #3 of 17
According to a book or two I have read .. cats speak thru eyes without sound ...
post #4 of 17
That isn't a silly or corny at all!! it is sooo true..Reilly always looks into my eyes
post #5 of 17
This is a coincidence as I noticed this morning that whenever our cat, Neely, wants me to pet her she looks directly up at me. Both cats and dogs pick up on body language, and they look directly into your eyes. You are absolutely correct.
post #6 of 17
Originally Posted by Miss Mew
That isn't a silly or corny at all!! it is sooo true..Reilly always looks into my eyes

I think it's all the eyes also, as long as they don't like my grandkids do
post #7 of 17
Yes, this is something very true! But when you think about it, when we speak directly to someone, we look into their eyes, and they are definitely someone to! Most animals relate better with eye contact except with strangers, and I don't know about you but the same goes for me!
post #8 of 17
In the cat world eye contact has certain meaning. It's something they do with each other & from what I read they view us not as humans, but as other cats. Eye contact to cats is usually viewed as a challange & used as part of pecking order. For example my super alpha man, Jordan, will deal with eye contact made from across the room, but if he is close to someone's face and they make eye contact he will attack. He views this type of eye contact as a challange to his alpha status & uses aggression to put the person in their place.
post #9 of 17
Hmmmm....pretty existential question!! I think it's just inborn behavior, not learned. Human babies look right into the eyes of their parents very soon as they can focus, or before.....cats look into each others' eyes....I don't see why they wouldn't look into ours.
post #10 of 17
Actually this is a very good question. Cats actually have no way of knowing that our eyes are what we see with. They don't know what they even look like unless they have seen a mirror and then they believe it is another cat. It has learned from it's mother or other cats that eyes are an expressive tool. They look at human eyes to try and read what we are saying. They know if we blink slowly we are not a threat, and if we stare that we are showing dominace. If you take a kitten from birth and hand raise it, with no other feline contact, they wouldn't understand certain signals of the eyes I believe.
post #11 of 17
Both of ours will look directly into our eyes too...espacially when they want attention...unless they know they are in trouble over something...then they turn their heads away as if to ignore the "No nos" (Which is long as they are still listening and minding.)
Toby will actually look into my eyes from across the room sometimes as he`s walking toward me...if I`m sitting down...and will continue staring as he comes closer...till he has walked right up onto me and has put his nose to the tip of my nose...then he`ll rub my face. (Not sure what that is supposed to mean!)
Cats can seem pretty independent, and even ignore us at times...but I believe they are really quite relational, whether it`s with their people, or with other cats....they like companionship and love and I think it is quite natural for any of us to look at the other persons/cats eyes when interacting with one another....unless there is a reason to feel by the other.
post #12 of 17
My Murelino does the same thing I think that eyes tell much more about us than our mouth that say words then neither cat nor a small baby understands. And to be frenk - I can tell everything hrom his look too, so that is like a two way communication...
post #13 of 17
Human eyes do not have the same 'triggers' as feline. When we are angry our puplis do not contract, and we we are scared they do not enlarge. Only a light source can change human puplis.
post #14 of 17
Interesting question.
post #15 of 17
Originally Posted by markman777
Human eyes do not have the same 'triggers' as feline. When we are angry our puplis do not contract, and we we are scared they do not enlarge. Only a light source can change human puplis.
This struck me as intresting because when Jordan gets mad & attacks his pupils dialate just before he attacks.
post #16 of 17
Originally Posted by markman777
Only a light source can change human puplis.
Or love.

Or drugs.
post #17 of 17
Alright, seriouisly...

Every mammal just knows instinctively about eyes as cues. Its absolutely necessary for survival. Gotta know who your friends and enemies are out there. Nature gives all creatures a great inventory of knowledge to start out with.

Since humans have many more face muscles and are more expressive, I wonder how much cats and dogs pick up from our expressions (after getting to know us). Probably much more than we give them credit for. Our eyes are just part of the facial package. We also read our cats' moods through their eyes as well as body language. A two way street, to be sure.

Cats can't cry as we do, but give them enough time around people, and they know when we're hurting, and respond accordingly - sometimes with what seems to be genuine sympathy. Those moments make me believe there's a lot going on in their heads.
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