Can someone explain to me why my cat just sits and stares at me for a long time?

The full question from Reddit.com is: “Can someone explain to me why my cat will just sit and stare at me for minutes at a time? What does this mean in a cat’s world?” It accompanied the photograph below that they took from their bed. This is an extended version of the response that I made on Reddit.com.

Cat enters bedroom and sits and waits. Owner concerned why his cat is staring at him for so long doing nothing,
Owner took this photo and was concerned that his cat was just sitting there doing nothing. He felt his cat was staring at him. Image: Reddit.com.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Well, it is a nice question which I’d like to answer my way based on my knowledge and personal experience. The views of others are welcome in a comment.

I have found over the years that the domestic cat is a very rapid, instinctive thinker when it comes to hunting and movement when investigating stuff. For the feline, instinctive actions to do with hunting, for which they are made through evolution, is rapid which is why they are a top line predator and great survivor. Although 10,000 years of domestication is very gradually turning them into plush toys to entertain humans,

However, when it comes to making up their minds about what to do next or responding to their ‘master’s’ (no!) call, the brain can churn over slowly. Rational thought can be slow, instinctive thought is invariably rapid.

Applying that assessment to the picture; this tabby cat is not staring at his owner but has come into the bedroom and plonked themselves down on the shiny, wooden floor, and slightly zoned out while they ponder what to do next.

They are just waiting for a thought to enter their head which will tell them what to do next. In the words of Jeremy Clackson of Top Gear fame domestic cats can be ‘Captain Slow’ when it comes to thought processes concerned with decision making.

It is about brain power. And there is also the fact that domestic cats are cossetted by their caregiver. There is no need to act fast to survive. Perhaps the domestic cat’s brain is generally slowed down by 24/7 ‘mothering’ of their owner. They don’t need to make decisions. Their owner does it for them. It is recognised that the wild cat is smarter than the domestic cat because they are constantly challenged in their struggles for survival.

Often cats that are bonded to their owner in a very close relationship simply follow their owner around the home. They are ‘underfoot’ as the saying goes. They respond to their owner’s activities.

I am not saying that cats are thick, per se. Although, to be honest, in a direct comparison with humans they are thick :). And sometimes we see cats as little humans which leads us to expect them to have human qualities and thought processes which are at a human speed. Note: see the link below where I praise the cat’s intelligence.

I think the person who asked the question in the title has slightly anthropomorphised their cat and is measuring them against human behavior, hence the slightly misplaced thoughts.

One last point: their cat is obese! No intention to be critical but this cat is a reflection of the ‘obesity epidemic‘ raging through the domestic cat population in the US and other countries but this is another story as they say.

Human and domestic cat obesity is one serious symptom of how humankind is gradually going off the rails. Too bored. Too self-indulgent. Lack of self-discipline. Wanting instant gratification and entertainment. Eating for pleasure.

It is one reason why there are tourist trips to the Titanic wreck when it should not happen for the reasons that I have stated in another article (read it by clicking here).

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