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Why does my cat keep staring at the door?

Not all cat experts or cat owners agree on every answer to the questions about cats. However, all seem to agree that,

  • Cats are a special kind of animal.
  • Cats possess unusual and unique intelligence.
  • Cats have a sixth sense.
  • Cats know more than their owners give them credit.
  • Cat owners have little success training their cats.
  • Cats can diagnose illness or impending death in their humans.
  • Some say cats see the spirits of dead people and animals.

If your cat wants to sit and stare at a door, it will. Have you ever wondered why your cat does this? Remember that cats never do anything unless there is a good reason.

Why Does My Cat Keep Staring at the Door?

Over thirty years, my hubby and I have rescued, adopted, cared for, and studied the behavior of cats. We will never know everything, even with our many years of cat experience. Sometimes we cannot answer our own questions, and we must seek answers from cat owners we know or professional cat experts. We are not professional cat experts.

Cat lovers everywhere agree that cats are brilliant, offer unconditional love to you, are grossly independent, sensitive, playful, picky, funny, and fun. While cats enjoy having playtime with you, cats can keep themselves busy while engaging in the strangest behaviors, such as sitting and staring at the door.

Cats naturally chase their tails, pounce, chase, stalk, and jump at or on another cat, person, or thing. They do these things because they can, and they never need a reason why. Sometimes cats stare at doors because they want to know what is on the other side. Remember, though, a cat always has a reason for doing what they do. I would not put it past my cats to do something strange because they know it will perplex me.

Like humans, cats have a sense of taste, smell, hearing, vision, and touch. A cat is said to have a sixth sense when it can detect another animal or person outside. They suddenly stand on alert well before their human is aware of anything unusual. Some feline professionals say a cat’s senses are ten times more sensitive.

Cats can see and hear things you cannot, making them stand at attention while you wonder why they act so strange. I believe all the cats who have crossed our path in the last 30 years stared at a door at one time or another, and I never put too much thought into the why of this action, believing cats will be cats.

Cat experts came up with a diagnosis called hyperesthesia in some cats that can account for frequent staring. The symptoms are as follows when your cat,

  • Aggressively attacks its own tail
  • Cat’s pupils are enlarged
  • Cat meows loudly
  • Hypersensitive to touch
  • Obsessive about grooming, with a focus on its tail
  • Episodes of quietly staring with episodes of manic behavior
  • Paws the air before taking off like a lightning streak
  • A rippling effect of its skin along with tail twitching

Causes of Feline Hyperesthesia

Experts in cat research believe that the following things cause this diagnosis. Only your veterinarian can provide diagnosis and treatment through a physical exam.

  • Stress
  • Electromagnetic signals in the brain
  • Abnormal brain waves
  • Seizures
  • Lesions along the spine
  • Typical cat behavior
  • Lack of playtime or attention

When cats lack stimulation, they can become depressed or aggressive. It can overeat too often, become obsessive with grooming, attack objects, become fatigued, and more. If your cat is healthy, join them at their door, staring by playing with them through shining a flashlight at the door and moving the light to entice them to play. Address your cat’s need for playtime and activity. Like I mentioned before, sometimes cats have a behavior for no reason.

Sophia’s Nightly Closet Run

Our female cat, Sophia, sits and stares at our hall closet door every evening at the same time, without fail, and for whatever reason. She wants the door open so she can go inside. She knows how to open doors and stretches her body upward to reach the lock and handle to open the door.

However, the handle and lock are too high on this door, and she cannot reach it, so we open the door and turn the closet light on for her. She goes inside for a few minutes and comes out prepared to nap for a while. We do not know why she does this other than because she can.

The majority of cats who stare at doors have no underlying health issues. However, if this behavior concerns you, please make a vet appointment for your cat and rule out any physical problems. Cats are experts at hiding health issues.

Cats are also curious creatures, meaning a cat must know what is behind closed doors.

Why Does My Cat Stare at My Doorway?

The most common and sensible answer to why your cat stares at your doorway is because staring is a common pastime. Cats commonly stare at walls, windows, corners, blank spaces, and doorways.

You may think that nothing is there when they see something of interest. Some people believe that cats are hypersensitive to the spirit world and can see ghosts or spirits coming and going. I am now so sure I believe this, although I suppose anything is possible.

  • Cats were blessed with exceedingly sharp vision.
  • The cat may be hearing something that we cannot hear.
  • Contrary to public opinion, I believe that cats do not stop thinking about things, and they try to figure out things.
  • The cat is curious about something.
  • Cats are time-sensitive and know when you come home from work. They may be waiting for someone.
  • Erratic behavior
  • Cognition decline
  • Cognitive dysfunction includes disorientation, confusion, wandering aimlessly.

Miss Black Stared

One year, we took in a stray pregnant kitty we named Miss Black. This kitty delivered two kits. One of her babies died shortly after birth, and the second became known as Sweet Pea. Immediately following the delivery, all Miss Black did was stare into space. She would not eat or drink. She would not nurse or care for Sweet Pea.

We took Miss Black to the vet a few days later and found she had severe, irreversible anemia. The doctor told us that the best thing to do for her was to euthanize her. Such a sad situation. My daughter took on the care of Sweet Pea through bathing and bottle feeding for several weeks. Miss Black lived under my adult daughter’s care until she passed away at 18. In Miss Black’s case, there was a physical reason why this cat did nothing but stare into space. If your cat stares at an object too often, it may help to consult your vet.

Why Does My Cat Stare at the Door at Night?

All of the senses of a cat are acute and sharp. A cat’s hearing and vision are ten times more sensitive than human hearing. Most cats do not sleep at night. Cats wander the house, play, hunt, and keep busy while you sleep because they are nocturnal. Cats sleep for an average of 18 hours per day, which means that when you are up and about, your cat is asleep, you do not get much of a chance to watch your cats’ odd behaviors.

If you catch your cat staring at the door at night, remember this is their waking time. If you work full-time and your cat is up for a while during the day, they undoubtedly take time to stare at a door or two. You are just not there to see them do this.

  • Your cat may have heard some noise outside.
  • Your cat may think that your door is its enemy.
  • Cats will sit and stare at something until you make a move to do something. In this case, cats stare at doors because they want you to open the door. They want to see what is on the other side.
  • Your cat may know that the door leads to the outside, and they want to escape.

Is it Normal for Cats to Stare at Doors?

From everything that cat experts and cat owners write on this subject, it is a sure bet that all cats stare at doors, corners, walls, etc., at some point in their lives. Some make a habit of staring while other owners catch their cats to randomly stare at doors. Everyone seems to have an answer to this behavior. However, there are no concrete conclusions on why cats do this.

Is this behavior normal?

  • In Miss Black’s case, staring was far from ordinary because she was critically ill.
  • In Sophia’s case, she is curious and her staring is routine. She wants the closet door open every evening at the same time, so she can pass through, walk around, and check things out. She does not repeat this action again that night.
  • All cats stare at things that we cannot see. I would not worry too much about this behavior as it seems like a normal thing that cats do. However, there are a few exceptions.

It would be best to take stock of your cat’s health as a first step. Be sure to bring your cat to the vet at least yearly. The vet will run an initial blood test to see if the levels are normal. The vet can pinpoint pending health issues and treat them accordingly through this blood test such as,

  • Certain types of cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Kidney problems
  • Dehydration
  • Heart disease and more

An initial blood test is critical and serves as a baseline result. The doctor can see variances from the past year, thus catching impending problems.

If your cat stares at a door quite frequently or makes this an infrequent behavior, ask yourself,

  • Is fluffy is eating and drinking well?
  • Is Fluffy peeing and pooing well?
  • Is Fluffy active and playing every day?
  • Is Fluffy sleeping well and the same amount of time it usually sleeps?
  • Do you notice anything abnormal about Fluffy, such as a runny nose, watery eyes, nasal congestion, trouble breathing, increased fatigue, or others?

If you cannot see anything unusual physically, I would not worry about the door staring. If it makes you feel better, you can make an appointment with your vet and discuss this issue.