Why Do Cats Face Walls?

Caitlin Dempsey


A black cat sitting in a blue plastic bowl facing a window.

Cats have a lot of quirks. It’s one reason why we find them so endearing and entertaining. One of these quirks is that some cats have a habit of facing walls.

There is something on the wall

Cats love to hunt which includes insects. If I ask my cat, “where the bug?” she will immediately become alert and start looking at the ceiling which is where insects sometimes can be seen.

You cat starting intently at the wall may mean that they are watching a small bug on the wall. Or maybe they think they see something moving.

Cats are predators who hunt by mostly sitting very still for long periods of time until their prey get close enough for them to rapidly run and pounce. Your cat intently watching a bug crawl along a wall sets off their hunting instincts which is why they can spend a very long time doing it.

There is something in the wall

A more worrisome reason is that your cat is listening to something moving inside your walls. Rodents and birds can make their way inside the infrastructure of a house though gaps or openings that they have excavated.

Your cat’s hearing is adapted to be able to hear sounds at a much high frequency than humans which is optimized for listening to the sounds of mice and other rodents. This means they can hear sounds from a father distance and at a higher pitch than you can.

It’s not just animals, there are other sounds like your house creaking, water moving through pipes, air moving through the ducts, and electrical noises happening behind the walls that may also trigger your cat’s curiosity. Cats use sounds to track what’s happening in your house.

Your cat is annoyed with you

Leaving the house, not getting breakfast early enough, not serving the right food… There can be various reasons why your cat might be upset with you. Cats by nature will ignore people or other animals that they are scared or stressed by.

My black cat used to be a notoriously picky eater when she was younger. She turned her nose up at most offering and never ate the same meal twice. She has vestibular syndrome so I have always wondered if that pickiness was due to her imbalance issues.

When the offered meal wasn’t to her liking, she would retreat to a blue bowl we kept by her food area, turn her back to face the window pane, and pout. She wasn’t looking out of the window since her head was at the level of the window frame. She would just face the wood and stew to show us just how displeased she was.

A black cat sitting in a blue plastic bowl facing a window.
My black cat would turn her back to us and pout when we didn’t serve her a meal she wanted to eat. Photo: Caitlin Dempsey.

Your cat is scared

When cats are in an uncomfortable situation in a room with no places to hide, they might seek comfort by facing a wall. Eye contact can be confrontational to a cat and starting at the wall is the easiest way for your cat to avoid the vet’s stare.

When to see the vet

All of the reasons above reflect very normal and healthy cat behavior. There are some illnesses such as feline hyperesthesia syndrome. in cats that can trigger staring at a wall so if your cat’s change in behavior is concerning to you, it’s best to consult your vet to rule out any health issues.


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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey holds both a master's in Geography from UCLA and a Master of Library and Information Science. She is the editor of Geographyrealm.com and an avid researcher of geography and feline topics. A lifelong cat owner, Caitlin currently has three rescued cats: an orange tabby, a gray tabby, and a black cat.