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Why Doesn’t My Cat Look At Me? (Cat Avoids Eye Contact)

This crazy cat lady must apologize to anyone reading this as I am always making a cross-parallel between cat owners and their fur babies. The last 30-plus years gave me insight into an uncanny parallel between a human and a cat, including eye contact or lack of eye contact.

The inability of some cats to look you in the eye closely resembles why some humans have the same problem. The eyes of a human or cat can signify,

  • Happiness
  • Guilt
  • Love
  • Anger
  • Grudges
  • Sadness
  • Depression
  • Joy
  • Sickness

Your cat’s eyes can tell you much about its current health status. Please call your vet if you see anything unusual in your cat’s eyes.

Why Doesn’t My Cat Look At Me?

What do you reckon the problem is when a human being cannot make eye contact with you and what are the first things that run through your mind?

I have three adult children. I remember something was always amiss when I spoke to them, and they refused to make eye contact. It is the same with a cat (or dog) who refuses to make eye contact. Something is undoubtedly amiss. My first question to my cat is, “OK, now what did you do?” Cats can give you that same sheepish grin with their eyes as children often do when they do something wrong.

From a Cat’s Perspective

The eyes mirror a cat’s world. The eyes can definitely send messages if you are observant. I also know that your eyes and voice tell your cat a lot about you. 

  • A cat whose ears are laid back, fur on end, and eyes flashing wide should make you uncomfortable.
  • When you fail to make eye contact, you could fail to maintain a good relationship with your cat.
  • When you fail to make eye contact with your cat, you cannot know how they feel.
  • I believe a cat may feel you are not as important as what they are currently doing.

If I were a piece of aluminum around a door, a bunch of weeds, a bush, or anything but mom, I would hold more interest in my cats.

  • I have always believed that cats think they are of a higher social standard.
  • When my cat fails to make eye contact, it tells me they have more important things on their agenda.
  • Failing to make eye contact could signal that the kitty is anxious, fearful, or anti-social.
  • Refusing eye contact could mean that there is an immediate desire for distance.

After nearly 40 years of caring for felines, I found and believe that cats understand significantly more than we give them credit for. Cats are masters of body language. Be observant of the eyes, ears, tail, fur, and vocals. Body language tells you a lot about what is going on with your cat. Isn’t this true for humans?

The pupils of a cat are like a human’s, except cats have a third eyelid. The pupils can shrink or widen depending on circumstances and lighting. Cats can open their eyes wide or make their eyes into thin slits. This happens when the cat is,

  • Aroused
  • Fearful
  • Feeling aggressive
  • Is happy
  • Is playful
  • Excited
  • Is terror-struck

If one of my cats is naughty, they will not look at me. If one of my cats is angry at me, they will not look me in the eye.

Is There a Health Issue?

When your cat does not make eye contact with you, it may signal a health issue. Not making eye contact is not always about the mood your cat is in at the moment. Health conditions such as the following warrant a vet visit.

  •  Pupils are always slits or always wide and never adjust to the light.
  • One pupil is larger than the other pupil. This may signify an emergency vet visit.

When you look into your cat’s eyes and see,

  • Narrow pupils can mean anger, pleasure, or fear.
  • Contracted pupils can mean anger, especially if the pupils are met with hissing or growling.
  • Narrow and squinted pupils can mean signs of aggression. If a cat fight is about to ensue, the cat may squint its eyes to protect them should the other cat claw the face.
  • However, narrow, squinted eyes along with purring can mean comfortable pleasure.

If you notice this, the next thing to do is examine its surroundings and what is happening at that moment. For example, when I drag the vacuum sweeper out, most of our six cats run for the hills with bulging, wide-open eyes.

Mia has Fire in Her Eyes

Simple things like reaching out to pat Mia’s head would set her off and make her angry. Her body language would say, “Leave me alone or you will be sorry!” I never intentionally make my fur babies angry, but sometimes it does not take much. Mia will accept one hand only, not two, or she will back away.

Sometimes I can see flames shoot up from the very depths of her brain into her pretty green eyes. Her tail would thump, and she would lay her ears back. When this happens, I know I need to create some distance.

Mia was born in 2009, and since she has become older, I rarely see her angry. Mia will look right into my eyes as I speak with her, knowing she understands most of what I am saying. I can look into her eyes as she looks into my eyes and say, “I love you so much, Mia.” She will usually pat my face with her paw in return.

*A woman and cat lover told me years ago that the various moods of a cat are complex and complicated, like most women.

It is difficult to figure out a cat! 

What To Do If My Cat Avoids Eye Contact? 

  • Be sure to take your kitty for its scheduled wellness visits. These visits can catch health problems early.
  • As a cat ages, it may lose some hearing, teeth, sight, and sense of smell. You may be talking to your kitty, and they are not hearing you because they cannot hear you. Be sensitive to the unique needs of senior cats.
  • When I want my cats to hear me, I will place a hand on each side of their face and make them look straight into my eyes. They know I mean business. Most times, I can hear them saying to me, “Ya, whatever.” Cats carry a tute (attitude) most days. I do this even if it is to say, “I love you.”
  • Cats operate on a whole different timeline than their owners. This makes it challenging to train a cat, unlike a dog. This does not mean they do not want your love, touch, and attention, but usually on their terms.
  • Cats are incredibly independent critters. Most times, they can take you or leave you.
  • You can train a cat, but only on their timeline and if you are patient and persevere.
  • Your cat may come when you call their name. However, they may be busy and eventually come when they become unbusy. What a cat does is always more important than you, and they may continue to ignore you.

Taking the time to look into your cat’s eyes tells you how they feel. Cats crave attention. However, cats crave to be left alone, and you can tell that with their eyes.

  • You know when your kitty does not want to be bothered.
  • You will know when they want a shower of attention and love.
  • You will know when your kitty is ill.

It is all right there in your cat’s eyes.