Should You Look at a Cat? The Pros and Cons of Cat Gazing

The Irresistible Charm of Cats

Cats are one of the most popular pets in the world, with over 94 million domesticated cats in the United States alone. Their appeal is universal – cats are the perfect combination of cute, cuddly, playful and mysterious. For centuries, cats have captivated our imaginations and found their way into our hearts and homes.

But why are cats so lovable? What is it about these furry creatures that makes us take notice when they cross our path? When we look into a cat’s eyes or observe their behavior, our attention is immediately captured. Let’s explore some of the reasons why cats make such excellent companions and always merit a second look.

The Benefits of Looking at Cats

There are a few scientifically proven health benefits of looking at cats. According to a study published in Healthline, watching cat videos releases oxytocin, also known as the love hormone. Oxytocin inspires feelings of contentment and reduces stress and anxiety. Interacting with cats also helps lower blood pressure and improves mood through the release of oxytocin and serotonin.

Additionally, a study conducted at the Indiana University Media School found that watching cat videos online boosts positive emotions and energy. Participants reported feeling more energetic and positive after viewing Internet cat media. Cats have also been shown to provide companionship and encourage mindfulness through appreciating the present moment.

Cats Encourage Mindfulness

Spending time observing and interacting with cats can encourage mindfulness, or the practice of being fully present and focused in the moment. Cats demand your full attention through their playful antics, affectionate rubbing, and loud meowing when it’s mealtime. This forces you to detach from technology and screens that often divide our focus. According to, cats embody a natural balance between mindful stillness and playful movement. Their calm yet active presence grounds you in the present.

As creatures of routine, cats also help establish mindful habits. Feeding, playing with, and caring for a cat encourages you to be more intentional throughout the day. Slowing down to appreciate the subtleties of a cat’s behavior–like their twitching tail or kneading paws–can cultivate greater mindfulness. Their peaceful contentment is contagious. Cats remind us to approach each moment with open curiosity and soak in the simple joys of life.

Cats Provide Companionship

Living with a cat can help alleviate loneliness and provide motivation to care for another living being. Studies have shown that caring for a pet can increase feelings of social support and decrease depression. According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pet owners are less likely to suffer from loneliness and social isolation than non-pet owners.

Cats make for great companions as they tend to be low maintenance yet loving pets. Their independent nature means you don’t need to constantly supervise them, yet they enjoy quality time together like cuddling and playtime. The affection and purring you receive from a cat is soothing and can make you feel cared for. Research shows that the bond between cats and their owners provides similar companionship and emotional support as human relationships.

Simply having another living being in the home can help motivate people, especially the elderly or those living alone, to continue their daily routines of caring for themselves and another creature. When you have a cat depending on you for food, water, grooming and healthcare, it provides a sense of purpose. Cats give you a reason to get up in the morning and somewhere to focus your affection.

Looking at Cats Sparks Creativity

Many cat lovers have noted that a cat’s intent gaze seems to unlock creative thinking. There’s something about their intense stare and mysterious presence that sparks the imagination. As writer Charles Bukowski once said, “Staring at a cat for a minute can teach you more about silence than looking at the ocean for a year.”

Throughout history, famous creators have enjoyed close bonds with cats and attributed felines as their muses. The unconventional artist Louis Wain became renowned for his psychedelic cat paintings, featuring giant eyed cats in human situations. “Cats seem to be the embodiment of creativity. They walk by their own rules, indifferent to the opinions of humans,” Wain once remarked.

Other iconic creators like Mark Twain, TS Eliot, Freddie Mercury and Ernest Hemingway have all credited cats as their inspiration. As Hemingway put it, “A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not”. There’s indeed a raw honesty in a cat’s stare that seems to evoke creativity.

Overall, while the link between cats and creativity may seem unconventional, there is evidence to suggest that cats possess certain traits that make them well suited to sparking the imagination. Their mysterious presence and intent gaze into our souls can unlock reservoirs of creativity within us all. As science writer Frans de Waal said, “The capturing of something mysterious and profound in an alert cat face has challenged artists for centuries.”

The Joy of Watching Kittens

Kittens are universally considered cute, with their large eyes, soft fur, tiny paws, and playful antics. According to the Guardian, research shows that kittens’ babyish proportions tap into our instincts to care for small, helpless creatures.

Watching kittens explore, pounce, wrestle, and chase toys is endlessly entertaining. Their playfulness and curiosity in their environment give plenty of amusing behaviors to observe. Kittens will often scamper, leap, and pounce in spontaneous bursts of energy. The antics of multiple kittens interacting with each other multiplies the fun. There’s a reason videos of frolicking kittens are so popular online.

Appreciating the Elegance of Cats

Cats are known for their gracefulness and elegance. They move with flowing, graceful strides and are capable of impressive leaps and bounds. Cats’ anatomy contributes to their elegance. Their flexible spines, muscular hind legs, and ability to rotate their hind feet 180 degrees allow cats to make graceful jumps and climbs (

Cats are very meticulous with their grooming rituals, spending up to 50% of their awake time cleaning themselves. Their rough tongues and ability to reach most parts of their bodies with their agile tongues and legs allow cats to keep their coats glossy and clean (

Watching cats go about their daily routines of climbing, jumping, and grooming highlights their natural elegance and beauty. Their graceful movements seem effortless and their grooming keeps their flowing coats looking sleek and shiny. A cat’s elegance comes naturally as a result of its anatomy and instincts.

The Mystery of Cats

Cats have an undeniable air of mystery about them that makes it hard to fully understand their behaviors. As pet owners, we observe our cats doing unusual things like suddenly sprinting around the house or chattering at birds through the window. While some behaviors may seem random or strange to us, researchers suggest they actually have an evolutionary basis or purpose for cats (Source). For example, cats likely sprint around sporadically to release pent up energy from their prey drive since they are natural hunters. Cats also chatter as a mimicry of bird sounds to try luring them in before an attack (Source). While intriguing, the underlying reasons for these behaviors remain somewhat mysterious from our human perspective. Part of what makes cats so alluring as pets is they manage to maintain an intriguing aura of mystery and unpredictability despite domestication.

Considerations Before Getting a Cat

Bringing a cat into your home is a big commitment and responsibility. There are several key considerations to think through before getting a cat.


Cats require both upfront and ongoing expenses. Initial costs include adoption fees, supplies like a litter box, food bowls, beds, toys, and scratching posts. Ongoing costs include food, litter, preventative veterinary care like vaccines and checkups, grooming, treats, and emergency medical expenses (Everything You Need to Know About Raising Your First Cat). On average, cat owners spend $600-$900 per year on routine care and supplies for one cat.

Time Commitment

Cats are less time intensive than dogs, but they still require daily interaction, play, and affection. Plan to spend at least 30-60 minutes per day directly caring for, playing with, and bonding with your cat. Cats also need exercise and mental stimulation through interactive toys and playtime. Make sure your schedule allows for quality time with your feline companion.

Lifestyle Factors

Consider if a cat fits your lifestyle. Cats require consistent meals, access to a litter box, and safety from household hazards. If you travel frequently or have an unpredictable schedule, a cat may not be the best fit. Having roommates or young children can also impact your ability to properly care for a cat. Evaluate your household and daily routine before committing.


In summary, there are many benefits to looking at cats. Cats can encourage mindfulness, provide companionship, spark creativity, and bring joy. Watching kittens play is an adorable sight, and adult cats often move with elegance and mystery. Appreciating the beauty and quirks of cats through sight can lift your spirits and brighten your day.

Looking at cats, whether in photos, videos, or in-person, is a simple pleasure that enhances life. Cats have so much to offer visually, from their soft fur to their hypnotic eyes to their acrobatic antics. Just a quick glance at a cat can inject some fun into any situation. For these reasons, you should always take the opportunity to look at cats whenever you can.

Scroll to Top