Why do cats stare at nothing? It’s such a common thing to see, but almost no one knows the reason behind it. And now that you’re here, you’ll be one of those special people who actually know the answer to this random question.
You have to admit that your fluffy buddy is not the only one who stares at nothing from time to time. We all do it sometimes. It usually happens when we’re worried about something or we’re just thinking (possibly overthinking something).
What do you think, do cats do it for the same reasons we do? Think about that and then scroll down to find the truth. You might be surprised to see some answers!
Why do cats stare at nothing? 9 most common reasons
If you thought there would be just a reason or two, you were very wrong. So, here are the 9 most common reasons you might find your cat doing that.
1) Because of their hearing
Cats are one of the animals with the best hearing. They can hear sounds that range from 48Hz and k84Hz which is much better than the abilities we have. People can “only” hear up to around 20kHz.
Sometimes you’ll think that your room is very quiet but you’ll notice that your cat is focusing to hear something better. She’ll probably do it more often at night as that’s the time when there’s usually nothing very loud around her.
So, if you’re sitting in a quiet room and you notice that your cat is staring at nothing, you should know that she’s probably just trying to focus. Cats are explorers and they always want to figure out where the sounds are coming from.
2) Cats can have episodic memories
Have you ever heard of episodic memories? Let me describe it to you.
You’re sitting at a cafe and waiting for your friend. Suddenly, you remember the first time you went by that cafe while you were eating that tasty chocolate ice cream. And while you’re thinking about it, you can clearly see and feel that memory.
I’m sure you’ve experienced this at least once in your life. Here’s a fun fact for you! Cats can have episodic memories too. And yes, they can involve you! Isn’t that cute? It’s proven that they are also able to daydream just like humans.
Experts suggest that cats usually have memories of food, their favorite parks, birds that caught their attention, the sun, and moments with their owners. So if it seems like your fluffball is just staring at the wall, it could mean that she’s just in the middle of the nostalgic moment.
3) Their sense of vision is different than ours
I already told you that cats can hear some things that we can’t. But did you know that the same goes for their vision? Yes! They can definitely see things that are so tiny for us and we’re just unable to see them (or at least see them easily).
Your kitty can’t see the same colors you can. She’s equipped with very sensitive photoreceptors and the colors she can see are wavelengths of blue-violet and greenish-yellow.
That’s why you’ll sometimes think that your cat just stares at nothing, while she’s actually looking at something you’re unable to see.
Do you know what’s catnip? It’s a plant that’s a member of the mint family and it can affect your cat. It includes the chemical called nepetalactone and that’s why it’s so intriguing for your fluffy buddy.
Most of the time it has a calming effect on cats. Nepetalactone that I’ve just mentioned is an oil that you can find in catnip and it affects your kitty’s sensory neurons. And when it goes to her nasal cavity, euphoria appears and takes her mind and body.
That’s why sometimes your cat will behave weirdly and it will seem like she’s just looking at the blank space. If you have a catnip somewhere near her then you now know the reason why she does this.
5) Your cat is just curious
Everybody knows that cats are cute, little, curious animals who like to spend their days exploring their surroundings. And even though sometimes you think there’s nothing new to find, trust me, your fluffy friend will definitely find even the smallest changes.
Sometimes when cats notice something they stay focused on it for hours. If your kitty is just staring at nothing, it might be that she saw a little spider on the wall. And now she’s watching his daily activities and trying to figure out who lives a better life. She or the itsy bitsy spider.
6) It’s a seizure
No one likes to hear that there’s a chance your cat’s staring at the wall might be a sign of a medical condition. But I promised to tell you every possible reason for her action, so I need to talk about this too. It’s good that the other answers are much more common, so I hope that will calm you down a bit.
The reason for her actions might be a focal seizure. This type of seizure can cause a feline to stare into nothingness. Focal seizures can affect one side of the cat’s brain. And it’s even suggested that it’s a hereditary condition.
It’s important to remember that if you notice your kitty’s drooling or having problems with coordinating, you need to call the vet as soon as possible. And he’ll give her the right treatment.
7) She’s aging
How old is your kitty? If she’s a senior cat then it’s possible her cognitive functions started dwindling. You can compare it to our bodies. Some people (when they get older) start forgetting things or even start behaving like they never did before.
There’s nothing you can do to help. But the good thing is that it’s a slow process and it usually doesn’t do much damage. It’s just that you’ll start seeing your feline focusing on something you can’t see more often.
You can always contact your vet and see what’s the best thing you can do to make your feline’s life even more comfortable. And the vet will help you get used to the changes that happen.
Have you ever heard of hyperesthesia? It can also be one of the reasons why cats stare at nothing. Some of the symptoms that you might notice are loud meowing, rolling of the cat’s skin, dilated pupils, and of course, staring at nothingness.
If a cat is suffering from this condition, she’ll also react to physical touch as it’s usually hurtful. And after some time you’ll notice that she’s aggressively attacking herself. But similar symptoms might appear if a cat has been poisoned so it’s important not to forget about that too.
The smartest decision is to take your feline to the vet and let them get the right diagnosis.
Dysautonomia is the last possible answer I have for you. It’s a condition in which the affected feline loses control of her involuntary neurologic abilities, and it also has the power to affect her reflexes. It can happen to any cat, but it mostly attacks the younger ones.
The most common symptoms are:
– Dilated pupils
– Signs of depression
– Anxiety attacks
– Loss of control on spinal reflexes
– Poor appetite
– Staring at nothing
– Difficulties with controlling urinating
The symptoms usually start worsening after four days. And if you notice any of these symptoms you should bring your feline to the vet as soon as you can.
Why do cats tilt their head while they’re looking at something?
If you’re one of those people who wear glasses, you’ll easily understand this. People who can’t see well usually tilt their heads to one side in order to try to see things clearer.
Well, the fun fact I have for you is that cats also do the same thing. It can also be a sign that your kitty is trying to focus on something that caught her attention.
However, if you notice that your feline is constantly doing this and she seems confused or like she’s in pain, she might be dealing with some health problems. Most likely an ear infection. You can easily check it out. And if you notice any swelling, discharge, or an unpleasant smell you should contact your vet.
What to do if your cat stares at nothing?
“Why do cats stare at nothing? And is there something I can do to prevent that from happening? I mean, is it serious? Should I be worried?”
If you notice your cat is staring at the wall, you shouldn’t worry about it right away. As you’ve seen most of the reasons for that weird activity are actually harmless and they can be understood easily.
However, if you’re still scared of the more serious conditions you can keep observing your cat. And if you notice that she started doing it more often, or you figure out she’s showing symptoms of any of the serious diagnoses I’ve mentioned, then you should take her to the vet.
Keep in mind that it’s more likely that nothing serious and dangerous is going on, but you should still be an observer and keep an eye on your fluffball.
Is your cat trying to tell you there’s a ghost?
And in the end, I have a special treat for you. Believe it or not, this is one of the most commonly asked questions on the internet. So, can your fluffball really see ghosts?
Many people believe that cats can see ghosts. It comes from ancient Egypt and the times when it was believed that cats have the ability to communicate with spirits and use black magic. And when someone asked them for proof they would use the fact that cats do like to stare at nothing. Everyone believed it.
Don’t get spooked yet; it’s still possible that your cat doesn’t have the power to be friends with supernatural beings. Even if she does, I’m pretty sure that she would just protect you.
Jokes aside, it’s much more realistic that when she stares at nothing she’s just doing it because of one of the reasons I mentioned above.
Now you finally know the answers you were looking for and I’m sure that you now understand your fluffball even more than before. Enjoy the time the two of you are spending together; it’s your fluffy best friend (even when she scares you with her weird behavior).