The condition is like this.

If I am lying in bed and Bhutu (my cat) is sitting on my chest. If I make eye contact with her and keep it for 2 minutes, she starts getting serious and suddenly slaps me. Then she again sits down on my chest and starts looking here and there.

What is the reason behind this behavior?

2 Answers 2


For cats, making long direct eye contact is a sign of aggression. Your cat is probably getting stressed out by your making such long direct eye contact, and acting out because of it. Instead, either avoid long periods of direct eye contact, or slowly blink and turn away, which for cats is a relaxed posture, that will make your cat be more relaxed in turn.


Almost all mammals perceive direct eye contact as a threat or provocation. Humans are a very rare exception from this rule and it often creates problems in their interactions with animals. The reasons lie in evolution:

  • Almost all predators have their eyes on the front of their skull to have better spacial vision. They fixate their prey with both eyes right before trying to kill it.
  • Almost all herbivores have their eyes on both sides of the skull to see more of their surrounding at once. They are physically incapable of staring at anyone with both eyes like a predator does.
  • Humans are both predators and very social. They express emotions mostly with the face, so looking directly at each other is nessecary to understand non-verbal communication.

This fundamental meaning of being stared at is so deeply ingrained into nature that some animals have a better chance of survival because of patterns that resemble eyes on their bodies. (For example the spots on the wings of peacock butterflies or on the head of spectacled cobras)

Staring any halfway intelligent animal directly into the eyes for a prolonged time will always create suspicion, stress, fear or provoke an attack.

  • "Humans are a very rare exception from this rule" - this is very culture specific. In many/most Eastern cultures, only brief/periodic eye contact is considered normal/natural.
    – ahron
    Oct 24, 2019 at 9:21

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