The Direct Stare
Although people can use direct eye contact to show affection, most cats find it threatening. That’s why in social settings, a cat usually gravitates toward the one person in the room who is trying to ignore it.
The more fearful a cat becomes, the wider its pupils expand, says Myrna Milani, DVM, an animal behaviorist at Tipping Point Animal Behavior Consulting Services in Charlestown, N.H.
When dilated, the pupils take in as much visual information as possible. This bug-eyed, saucer look signals that a cat is very frightened and wants to retreat.
In an aroused or angry cat, the pupils may become narrowed or constricted to focus more effectively on detail. But cats’ eyes also respond to ambient lighting, Sueda says, so it’s important to observe the body language as a whole and not single out any one element.
Once a cat realizes that he is being watched, he may stop what he is doing and assess the situation.