I have three cats. One, a male black shorthair, is starting to act rather oddly. He's starting to stare at the walls.

Normally this wouldn't be a problem. However, it's gotten so bad that we had to move his cat perch away from the router, because we thought he was going to jump on it to get at the wall. He is now trying to sit on me/my computer desk to get closer to another wall.

The odd thing about this is that he is the only one staring at the walls. The other two cats act like nothing is there at all. Nothing IS there, either, including no sounds and no cracks.

He is only staring at specific places. At first there were only two in the living room: one behind the router (which might have lights from the router on it, though I can't see them) and one next to the kitchen, which as far as I can tell has no light on it whatsoever. It has the unmoving shadow of a fruit basket, but I can't imagine that would be it. He now stares at the wall in my bedroom also, trying to climb on my computer desk like I mentioned. There is some light from the shade on this wall in the early morning, but otherwise it is extremely nondescript.

Why is my cat doing this? He is acting as if there is something on the wall that he can't quite see/hear, but knows it is there. As if he was chasing a laser pointer, but toned down by about a third.

  • 1
    I would take the cat to the vet. This could be a neurological problem.
    – mhwombat
    Sep 29, 2016 at 18:14
  • there is most likely something in the wall, a mouse? maybe a ghost??
    – user11630
    Feb 24, 2018 at 4:18

4 Answers 4


You mention unmoving shadow and a shade of light at a specific time.

This reminds me a lot of my own cat.
He has always had a fascination for these things and a keen memory for it.
He always comes sit with us at the dinner table, because the light reflects on our knifes against the ceiling, he loves this and whenever we eat, he will sit and stare at the ceiling, even if there is no reflection "active".

He also spots any other reflections nearly instantly.

He also loves moving shadows. Is the fruit basket always there? it could be that he is intrigued by the "new" shadow on the wall.

My other cat who is 1 year older never shows any interest in any of these things, he will not chase a reflecting light on the wall or ceiling and cares even less for shadows.
So interest in things depends on the cat.

I wouldn't worry to much about it but i understand you as an owner, you have to remember that these animals do not think like we do and that everything new does not have a simple explanation for them.
We know at night that light from outsides comes from cars, streetlights or even people. Cats do not.

  • The fruit basket is a hanging basket attached to the wall, and never moves. It might swing back and forth when we put something in it, but that isn't very often. Still, I suppose that could be the cause if the cat is just waiting for something to happen. Sep 29, 2016 at 23:36

How old is your cat? We sometimes see this type of behavior in older pets, it can be a sign of a cognitive disorder (senility). Or as others have mentioned it could be that he may hear somethings in the walls :)

  • 2
    I'm not entirely sure of his age; probably ~11-12. He is a very smart cat and is acting otherwise perfectly normal, which makes me think that Vahx might have it. His answer would also explain why the cat will look away from the wall occasionally and then look back - he wouldn't do that if there was actually something there, but he would if he was just waiting for something. Granted I'm not a cat expert. This is just what makes sense to me. :) Oct 3, 2016 at 17:16

Its impossible to know for sure, but perhaps there is something in the wall he can hear. My cats would stare at the base of the refrigerator for hours. One, way more than others. I couldnt understand why. It wasnt until one evening I found him staring again and turned on the lights and saw the head of a mouse poking out. Again, one cat was far more interested than the other, so it could be his hearing was better, or the other was just not that interested.

  • 1
    I'm inclined to think this is the case also, but the fact that the other cats show no interest has me wondering. I think it must have something to do with light, as there is a possible very low light at all the locations... can cats see dim light better than humans? Sep 29, 2016 at 20:30
  • 2
    @ThomasMyron cats can see using roughly one-sixth the amount light that people need
    – Keltari
    Sep 29, 2016 at 20:31

My cat is 11-12 years old. She has done this her whole life but it has increased a lot as she got older. After reading the comment saying it may be cognitive disorders or senility, I thought this could be an aswer for my own pet. With Peegy though, It's not just specific spots really, she just sits with her face as close to the wall as possible.She stares at totally blank walls all the time. Anyhow she was born with under developed eyelids abd looked like a mutant when she was little. As she grew up she just grew out of it and looks pretty normal now. Only thing is she has impaired vision and has since birth. Took me a long time to find this out. They said her staring at walls might give her comfort in a spatial consciousness kind of way because she's kind of blind.

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