Cats are known for their high intelligence levels and often engage in behavior that is playful, mysterious, or downright remarkable and weird. One of the strange and somewhat confusing cat behaviors can be when they stare at walls, or pounce at seeming invisible objects that seem to capture their eye from out of nowhere. So why does your cat stare at the wall? Here we will try and demystify this strange behavior and explore what they can see and hear that us humans can’t. Here are a few reasons why your beloved feline friend might be staring at a wall and why this odd behavior should not cause alarm. While some might think it’s a sign of a supernatural force, or perhaps an underlying medical issue, a cat staring at a wall (who showcases no other symptoms of being unwell) is usually doing so for the following reasons:
- They an amazing sense of vision: They call them ‘cats’ eyes’ for a reason!
Cats have a truly remarkable sense of vision; in fact certain studies have illuminated just how brilliant their eyesight is. A 2014 study revealed that they can even see waves of light such as ultraviolet. Humans unfortunately do not have such a brilliant sense of site and thus sometimes cats will look at things that we as humans simply cannot see. Thanks to their amazing seeing abilities, they are thus able to sense subtle changes in lighting far more vividly than humans. This is largely due to the greater number of light sensing rods in their eyes.
So sometimes when your cat appears to be staring aimlessly at a wall, they are actually seeing glimmers of light that we cannot see and not simply staring into space. Now when you are driving at night, you’ll have a greater appreciation for those cats’ eyes on the road. They enable us to see better in the dark and give us an iota of the specialized site skills that cats possess.
- They might actually be hearing something, rather than seeing it
Now if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll know that there is a whole world behind the wall. Well, that goes for cats and their supersonic hearing when it comes to high pitch sounds too. Sometimes when they are staring at the wall, they are not actually looking at anything in particular, but rather hearing something from behind the wall. It might be in the apartment or room next to you, or the whistle of a fan or air vent nearby. These sounds might be so quiet to the human ear, or operate at a higher frequency than we can hear, that we simply miss it completely. Thus, rather than staring at the wall, your cat might be pricking their ears and listening intently to a sound that we are unable to hear ourselves.
- There is still so much that we don’t know about their amazing brains, but it could have something to do with their predatory instincts
While medical science has taught us a great deal about cats and their amazing brains, there is still so much that we do not know. While a dog might momentarily stare at a wall, or notice something thanks to their enhanced sense of smell that we cannot, cats might be captivated for hours by that which we cannot see and cannot hear. While domestic cats are fed by their humans and don’t need to hunt prey to satisfy their hunger, they still have those hunting instincts and thus their hearing and seeing abilities are super developed. Sometimes when they are staring at a wall for a long time they might be trying to hear and see what is happening. They might be hearing the smallest scuttle of a creature and are busy trying to figure out where the creature is. This is their predatory nature coming out to play and is a completely natural and normal part of being a cat.
Hopefully in years to come medical science will have developed to the point where we can completely understand the incredible workings of their brains.
Signs That Your Cat Might Be Sick
However, there are some behaviors that could signal that your beloved cat is unwell and these should not be chalked down to their mysterious minds. If your pet is showcasing any of the following symptoms be sure to take them to a vet and get them proper medical attention to avoid an emergency.
- Your cat has dilated pupils
- Your cat is experiencing nausea or diarrhoea. This can lead to severe dehydration and should be treated immediately by a medical professional. Your cat might need to go on a drip, or need medication such as antibiotics.
- They are obsessively grooming themselves to the point of losing hair and causing harm.
- They begin to attack their own tail and seem distressed.
- They are howling or meowing frantically. This could signal an injury or internal trauma.
- They are lethargic or unable to move around freely. This could point to a dangerous medical condition, virus, or disease and should always be checked out.
- They stop eating their food and drinking water.
- They are severely constipated and unable to freely use their litterbox when needed.
If you are unsure about your cat’s symptoms, always call your vet and check in with them. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your pet.