Why Won’t My Cat Blink Back At Me?

If you’re a cat owner, you might’ve figured out a few ways to show your cat affection that is outside of the traditional forms of cuddles and hugs. For example, many cat owners have discovered the gesture of slow blinking at their cat. Slow blinking at your cat is a well-known way to show your cat affection; but what happens when your cat does not reciprocate that gesture?

So why doesn’t my cat blink back at me? The most likely reason is that your cat probably wants something, is on high alert, is asserting dominance, or they do not receive or give affection in that particular way.

In this article, we’ll discuss a variety of reasons your cat won’t blink back at you, as well as other ways you can show your cat affection that might be received and reciprocated better than slow blinking.

Feed Me Right Meow

Cat eating in food bowl
Cat eating in food bowl | Image by Natasha G from Pixabay

It’s early morning, just before the sun rises and you wake up to your cat staring at you. It’s pretty logical to assume that your cat is waiting for you to wake up so you can feed them. However, when you get home from a long day, and your cat has yet to stop staring at you, you start to wonder if they’re plotting your demise.

Do not fret, as there are many possible reasons your cat may be staring at you. 

Cats are well known for their nontraditional ways of showing affection, and many cat owners have come to understand how to communicate with their kitties by using some of these techniques. Whether it’s a scratch behind the ear, casual cuddling, or slow blinking, we have learned to adjust to show affection in a way that our cat best receives it.

If you made your way to this page, you are probably concerned with the fact that your cat will not reciprocate the slow blinking that you initiate; but before you get concerned, you might want to consider that perhaps you missed a cue from your cat, and they’re staring back at you because they want something!

Why Does My Cat Stare at Me Without Blinking

Here are a few reasons why your cat may be staring at you instead of reciprocating those slow blinks:

1. Your cat is simply curious. Cats are naturally curious creatures who are very aware of their surroundings at all times; hence the saying “curiosity killed the cat.” You have probably noticed your cat’s tendency to follow you to the bathroom.

It is curious to them why you would go into a room without them and shut the door. Like a child, their natural curiosity has them following after you to figure out exactly what it is that you are doing without them and they’re diligently trying to figure out why it’s such a secret.

Your cat could be staring instead of slow blinking because they see your movements as curious and intriguing and they find it hard to look away. A curious cat might not slow down long enough to engage in an activity such as the slow blink.

2. Your cat wants attention from you. It’s easy to know when a dog wants attention because they make it well known as they approach you with a wagging tail, a joyful bark, and thousands of kisses. However, a cat is much more complex in the way they relay their need for attention.

If you are slow blinking at your cat, and they’re staring right back at you, it might be because they’re vying for your attention and are requesting your excellent petting skills. In this instance, you should consider if it is time for food or if they would like you to physically give them attention via pets or grooming.

3. Your cat is fearful of someone or something. As a cat owner, you have probably noticed your cat’s excellent attention to detail and you have noticed that sounds hold a major portion of their attention. Cats can often become afraid when they hear the slightest noise in or outside of your home, and this can lead to a panicked look on their face.

If you are attempting to console your cat with a slow blink and they stare directly back at you without blinking, it isn’t because they don’t love you or don’t appreciate your consoling; they are just hypersensitive to sounds of all volumes and they’re in the midst of trying to figure it out.

Reading our cat’s body language in these instances is crucial to reassuring them in the correct way that the sound they heard is not threatening to them in any way.

4. Your cat is asserting dominance. In the wild cat kingdom, staring and making direct eye contact with another animal is a sign of dominance. It can also be seen as a sign of aggression in many cases. If you are slow blinking at your cat and in return you receive a deep-rooted stare and direct eye contact, they may think that you are challenging them.

It’s important in these instances to make soft eye contact with your cat but look away after a few moments to assure your cat that you are not asserting your dominance and you do not wish to compete with them.

5. In very rare cases, your cat could have a medical condition. If you start to notice that your cat is constantly staring at you or off into space, it could be because they have an underlying medical condition that is not allowing them to reciprocate those slow blinks.

Although rare, it’s important to keep these conditions in mind and reach out to a veterinarian if you have any concerns about your pet’s health. Here are a few examples of medical conditions that could be the cause of your cats staring:

  • Loss of eyesight
  • Illness related to the nervous system
  • Toxicity
  • Hypertension
  • Cognitive decline

Nonverbal Communication

Domestic cat closeup photo
Domestic cat closeup photo | Image by …♡… from Pixabay

It’s easy to assume and dread that your cat doesn’t love you or doesn’t trust you because they are not reciprocating the slow blink; however, it might just be their anatomy that is making the decision when it comes to blinking.

Unlike humans, cats have eyes that do not require constant lubrication. Cats are not required to blink because they possess anatomy that we do not. If your cat is not reciprocating those slow blinks, there are some other ways you can express affection to your cat that might be more well-received. Here are a few examples of ways to show your cat you love them that doesn’t involve blinking:

– Mimic their voice – You can help your kitty feel safe, secured, loved, and heard by simply mimicking the sounds that they make in a special bonding moment between the both of you. If your kitten is making a cute trilling sound or vocalizing their meow, this is the perfect time to practice your cat sounds. Even if they aren’t perfect, your cat will view this as a form of affection. 

– Let them rub on you or touch you with their paw – Cats have special glands that are located on their body that emit pheromones when they rub on people and things. If you walk in the door and your cat immediately starts rubbing on you, let them! They are claiming you as their own and showing you that they love you by releasing their pheromones onto you. These pheromones, in return, allow the cat to smell them later and feel safe and secure in your presence.  

– Groom your cat – By grooming your cat you are not only eliminating that unwanted excess pet hair in the house, but you are also showing your cat the attention and love that they crave. It is important in these instances to know your cat’s body language and realize when they have had enough physical touch. If you groom them more than they want, you might turn that experience into a negative one.  

– Take your cat to the vet – Now, don’t get this twisted. Your cat probably doesn’t enjoy a trip to the vet; however, because cats are exceptional at hiding illnesses, it’s important as a cat owner to take them to the vet regularly for check-ups so that they are feeling their best at all times.


Having a cat as a house pet can take a lot of time and patience when it comes to learning their needs and cues. Although we, as cat owners, rave about our quiet, low maintenance pets, it’s easy to miss when they are requesting our attention.

Many cat owners agree that the slow blink is a sign of trust, but it’s important to remember that it isn’t the only sign of trust. There are many ways that you can show your cat that you love them deeply, without having to master the slow blink.

After all, cats are strange and unpredictable characters and they’re all very different. We shouldn’t be surprised that they all give and receive affection in different ways.