Cats are mysterious animals, and sometimes they may seem like they’re acting out of the ordinary.
You may sometimes find your cat is staring at something inanimate, like a wall.
Cats are obviously predatory animals, so it may seem that staring at or attacking a wall may be concerning. But why do they face the wall anyway?
Cats have highly sensitive ears, so they will often face the wall if they hear small pests rustling in or behind it, even if we don’t. There may be other reasons your cat might stare at inanimate objects, but small pests are usually the number one cause.
We often find our cats staring at a wall, in particular the garage wall where they might be listening to mice rusting around inside
In the remainder of this article, we’ll look at this and other causes for your cat’s strange wall-staring behavior!
Why Do Cats Suddenly Face Walls?
More often than not, cats will face and stare at inanimate objects such as walls because they hear something that is not audible to the human ear.
This is not an uncommon experience, but it may denote a change in your cat’s normal behavior; typically, a cat’s body language will give away why they’re acting the way they are.
With that said, the following are a few reasons why cats will often face the walls unexpectantly:
Innate Predatory Behavior
As mentioned above, in most cases, your cat may be hearing small noises or vibrations in the wall. As a result, they will begin tracking these sounds to catch and possibly eat whatever they think they hear.
As cats are commonly known as predatory animals, specific behavior will denote if they are attempting to find a suspected prey within your walls. These behaviors may include:
- Swiveling ears
- Dilated pupils
- Fur lying flat
- Lowered tail
- Arched back (may look ready to pounce)
In this case, your cat is acting on a natural predatory instinct.
This is often seen as a playful pastime that shows your cat’s independence. Behavior such as this is what makes your cat such a good mouser.
Hearing And Tracking Insects
As the weather in your community begins to fluctuate, small rats and insects will begin to invade your home. Your walls contain warm electrical wiring and pipelines that make a comfortable home for these pests.
If your cat is staring at the wall during these times of weather changes, it’s most likely because it hears mice and insects scurrying along or inside of the wall.
This is a completely normal thing because your cat is naturally trained to be alert to foreign sounds.
A cat’s natural instincts provide it with a heightened sense of sight and sound. So, though bugs crawling is most likely inaudible to you, your cat will notice this as an invasion of its territory. The staring is probably your cat’s way of waiting out the prey so that it can plan to pounce.
In this case, you may consult with an exterminator if the issue is causing you distress. They can tell you for sure if pests are what’s making your cat alert. If you suspect your cat is chasing after mice, try placing some humane mouse traps. If you find one enclosed in the trap, this is probably the reason your cat has been fixated on the wall.
If your cat is seen staring at walls, this could signify rodents hiding in your walls. Because cats can see and hear things we cannot, they may be stalking the rodents to protect their territory.
Because of the predatory nature of cats, they give off scents that can scare off mice and other rodents. Just by being close to the wall, your cat is most likely working to intimidate the foreign invader. Without even having to expel bodily fluids, your cat’s scent will linger on the wall.
When cats get close to objects and rub against them, they spread their scent and claim their territory. This could be part of why your cat is facing and staring at the wall. Whatever it is hearing is probably invading an area that your cat has already claimed.
The age of your house cat may indicate the cause of your cat’s fixation on inanimate objects.
Typically, young felines are much more playful and explorative in their environment. The only time a cat’s staring may present an issue would be if they present other symptoms.
Certain behavior that is often associated with kittens might indicate a syndrome known as hyperesthesia. These signs are very normal for small cats and may include:
- Attacking its own tail
- Enlarged or dilated pupils
- Loud vocalizing or “meowing”
- Uncomfortable with touch
- Frantic grooming of itself
All of these signs combined with staring at walls, particularly in older cats, could be a sign of hyperesthesia. The cause for this syndrome is largely unknown, but it seems to accompany high levels of stress.
If you notice these signs accompanied by wall staring or other abnormal behaviors (such as pressing its head against a wall), consult with a veterinarian to see if your cat needs treatment. Head pressing can sometimes be a sign of a stroke in cats, and these behaviors together could indicate medical abnormalities in your cat.
What Do Cats See When They Face The Wall?
There are multiple things that a cat may be staring at when they are facing the wall. However, they most likely do not actually see anything in particular.
They are most likely fixating on small sounds and vibrations that you may not notice.
If you live in a busy neighborhood or lively apartment complex, subtle vibrations from others walking or driving by could alert your cat. This may cause residual vibrations in your walls that pique your cat’s curiosity.
Also, as mentioned above, you may also be experiencing small pest infestations within your walls; it’s very easy for bugs and small animals to find their way in, so your cat may be staring at a tiny insect that is hard to discern by the human eye at first glance.
Do Cats See Things On The Wall We Don’t?
Just like with their hearing, cats have a heightened sense of sight. So, cats are trained to see subtle things that our eyes are not quite capable of
Sometimes it may seem like your cat is staring at nothing, but it could be something we just can’t perceive.
There are theories that cats can see supernatural beings, but this is not something that can be proven. However, there is evidence that cats can see subtle motions and wavelengths of light that we cannot distinguish. Namely, cats have more rods in their eyes that allow them to see things like ultraviolet light.
Your cat may be staring at subtle changes in the environment. For example, some of these may include:
- Small reflections of light
- Glints or disruptions in a light’s beam
- Small dust particles floating in the air
- Light reflecting off of dust
These small disturbances wouldn’t even win a second glance from most of us, but your cat sees this as a shift in its natural environment. These small inconveniences translate as a threat to a feline’s claimed territory.
Staring is your cat’s way of planning and calculating what moves to make to defend its home. Eventually, if the “prey” does not stop irritating your pet, you’ll see it pounce at seemingly nothing.
Cats are very in tune with their surroundings. As they have heightened senses of sight and sound, they may react to things you can’t see or hear. As long as this behavior isn’t accompanied by concerning symptoms, there’s nothing to worry about.
If your cat staring is causing you distress, consult with a veterinarian. They’ll be able to tell you whether or not your cat’s behavior could be a sign of serious medical issues.