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Staring the cat down

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Persi always loves to stare directly into my eyes. I find this extremely fascinating so I stare back, wondering what is going on in that mind. However, my books on cats tell me to NEVER try to stare a cat down, so I always end up diverting my eyes. I always wonder just how long this contest would go on if I did not give up. Or is it a contest?
post #2 of 16
I have the same sort of problem as well; I stare into either of my cat's eyes, then remember that I'm not "supposed" to be doing this. However, I think I'm pretty good at reading their body language, and, as far as I can tell, they don't mind. So if they don't mind, why should I?

I often end up staring at Artemis's eyes while she is on my lap and I am petting her. If I don't look at her, I seem to do something wrong, because she'll nip me. (Very, very gently, but I definitely interpret it as a rebuke instead of a "love bite".) When I look at her, I can follow her body language and pet her in a way that makes her purr up a storm. When I look away, I do something wrong (haven't for the life of me figured out what). So, if keeping her happy means looking at her, and looking at her means looking into her eyes, then I'm going to keep doing it!
post #3 of 16
A stare down is considered to be confrontational by most animals, and can be considered a dominance challange by many of them. To signal "friendship vibes" to a cat behaviorists say that you should slowly blink your eyes while looking at them.
I always feel like an idiot making blinky eyes at my cats, but I do it anyway.
post #4 of 16
Our Muskis is staring too, and therefore he dont mind if we do stare at his eyes. I dont think it is a dominance thing. He is the revire holder yes (was even when he was already castrate and his son was still a fully grown up, fertile Sir), but he is docile. It doesnt take anything to get him down...

I think such staring is learned by homecats. They has learned humans are funny people, staring and raised hands isnt not at all hostile - like it is in the cat-world.
post #5 of 16
When your cat stares at you and blinks a few times, she/he's telling you how glad she's your friend If the blinking is fast, you are exciting her/him However, no blinking stands for confrontation/challenge. Be pretty careful with this last one.
post #6 of 16
I have done this with Otis until my eyes dont focus anymore, he has charged me sideways, which always makes me laugh. He looks away, and looks back, and finally lays down and rolls over on his back. Then the game is over and I'll give hime a greenie treat. Its turned into a game for us.
post #7 of 16
I don't know, when I was first bonding with Pixel we'd gaze into each others' eyes for good long periods of time, this while I was holding her like a baby. I didn't have a clue it was bad at the time, it felt good. Oh, and she didn't seem to mind at all. She was very relaxed in my arms.
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik61 View Post
I don't know, when I was first bonding with Pixel we'd gaze into each others' eyes for good long periods of time, this while I was holding her like a baby. I didn't have a clue it was bad at the time, it felt good. Oh, and she didn't seem to mind at all. She was very relaxed in my arms.
Ditto this. I don't think it's always a bad thing. Luna stares me down all the time. Mostly it's when she's content and getting ready to go to sleep. I can get lots of good picures of her because of this. It's not a confrintational look, more a look of adoration. I think it's pretty obvious when a cat is being confrintational.
post #9 of 16
Harley is always starring at me, so I'll stare back - sometimes I'll wink at himm, and he'll wink back! Other times, we'll be starring at eachother, and then he'll just meow at me, and come up to me and start purring. I've never found that starring at him to be a bad thing - although when him & Davidson are doing that with eachother, I know some wrestling will be coming out of it sooner or later!
post #10 of 16
quite honestly I never understood why people say that you shouldnt stare at your cat if he/she looks at you. Its not a stray dog, or some other animal that you might provoke. Its your cat. When my cats stare at me I take that opportunity to talk to them while I have their attention, and it is usually answered back. When they stare they usually want something from me, and I find it adorable that they are trying to comminicate.
post #11 of 16
Absolutely. I swear Pixel and I communicate with our eyes. She often tries to catch my gaze to tell me she wants out or fed. I look at her, look at my lap, look at her, look at my lap, and she suddenly "gets it" and jumps up. I get the distinct impression that when she does get it she is happy about it, and I'm always on alert for her communications.

Sometimes when she is just laying about with me and we hear one of the kittens making a ruckus, we will just look at each other. I look back and forth between her and the noise and just roll my eyes. Could be my imagination but I like to think of it as telepathy.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by yayi View Post
When your cat stares at you and blinks a few times, she/he's telling you how glad she's your friend If the blinking is fast, you are exciting her/him However, no blinking stands for confrontation/challenge. Be pretty careful with this last one.
I always thought this way too. With a strange cat, I would always heed this advice..

With one of my own though, we "play" like this with no disastrous results.

I am at one end of the hallway and my dominant big grey boy (who has no fear of any human at all...he will investigate you head on...Truck noises on the other hand send him into a paranoid state ))

Anyway, I am at one end of the hallway and I see him staring intently at me directly...I then open up my eyes full on and we run at each other....and then I run the other way and he trots either in front or beside me....

When I stop, he will usually give me a love bite on my ankle (it doesn't hurt..he just grabs tentatively and holds on)...
Then the game starts again.....

He has never hurt me this way...

But he is also a cat that comes when you call him and seems to have alot of dog traits...

But I really think he thinks I am another big cat and I do love this play time together.
I have a feeling he just knows that I would never be a threat to him??

Btw, we also do love blinks too.. I am not ashamed!
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbw999 View Post
quite honestly I never understood why people say that you shouldnt stare at your cat if he/she looks at you. Its not a stray dog, or some other animal that you might provoke. Its your cat. When my cats stare at me I take that opportunity to talk to them while I have their attention, and it is usually answered back. When they stare they usually want something from me, and I find it adorable that they are trying to comminicate.
I didn't see your post until after I posted already..
Anyway, I completely agree. With a strange cat, no....
But with my own family....? Sure...!!
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well, that is exactly why I like this forum so much. I have had so many dogs and they are always predictable. I am just constantly amazed over my kitten's behavior simply because I have never had one, (I have had adults). I was just mentioning something that KITTENS FOR DUMMIES said, but from now on, we are going to have a real contest!!!!
post #15 of 16
i love looking at stoli - especially when he's staring back. we just gaze at each other lovingly, he'll talk to me - i'll talk back. he'll fall asleep - and keep peeking just to see if i'm still there. i make lovey eyes too.
post #16 of 16
I avoid staring at mine - staring is a threatening behaviour to a cat so I'm not going to risk scaring/threatening my boys. Cats often stare at each other as a precursor to fighting and will avoid physical confrontation when one looks away - I noticed Jaffa and Magpie (RB) doing that sometimes. It maybe doesn't do any harm but I consider it rather rude to stare at them! I'll look at them then after a while blink or break eye contact.
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