Have you ever been curious about what your furry friends see? Well, like you, we are intrigued by our feline friends and what their sight captures. This has prompted us to do a detailed research on what cats see. That said, let’s take you through everything you need to know about our furry friends, especially as it concerns their sight.
Fun facts about cats vision
Before we get into all the details of what cats see, here are some fun facts about cats’ vision you should know:
- One of the most significant differences between cat vision and human vision is in the retina.
- Cats find it challenging to see distant objects as well as humans.
- Cats are color blind, so they can’t detect colors.
- Compared to humans, cats have the superior ability to see clearly in the dark.
What do cats really see?
Cats and other four-legged animals like dogs have a high concentration of rod receptors as well as a low concentration of cone receptors. Humans have the exact opposite. This explains why cats can see very well at night but can’t detect colors. That said, let’s examine a cat’s sight using the following factors.
Visual feed refers to the area that can be captured when the eyes fix focus on a single point. Simply put visual field focuses on what can be seen ahead and also what can be seen below and to the side. Compared to the average human with a visual field of around 180 degrees, cats have a slightly wider visual field of 200 degrees.
What this essentially means is that cats have a broader view than humans. Also, the position of their eyes gives them a better visual feed than humans.
Visual actuality relates to the clearness of vision, and when it comes to this, cats are way behind humans as we tend to see better and clearer. Let’s get into details, so you know exactly what we are talking about.
The average human being has a visual actuality of 20/20. But when it comes to our feline friends, their vision actuality ranges between 20/100 to 20/200. What this means is that a cat has to be 20 feet to see clearly what an average human can spot from 100 to 200 feet away.
At 100 or 200 feet away, a cat’s vision is expected to be blurry.
There is this popular belief that cats can’t see color and can only recognize shades of gray. But you’ll soon find out that there is a bit of a misconception surrounding this cliché.
To start with, humans are known to be trichromats. What this means is that humans have three types of cones that let them easily spot red, blue, or green color. And although cats are also believed to be trichromats, theirs isn’t exactly like humans. This explains why a cat’s vision is thought to be similar to a human who is color blind.
Giving this analogy, cats can see shades of green and blue. Where they get a bit confused is with the reds and pinks.
Giving their vision, cats may see more green colors while purple may look like a different shade of blue.
And just so you know, a cat’s vision is a bit limited to the richness and hues of saturation of colors they can see. This explains why a lot of people think that cats are color blind.
When it comes to distance, cats are believed to be nearsighted. This means they can’t spot far objects very clearly. Also, their ability to easily spot close objects perfectly fits their hunting instinct.
While cats aren’t able to see rich color and other fine details, they boast of a superior ability to see clearly in the dark, and that’s all thanks to the high number of rods in their retina.
These rods are super sensitive to dim light. Because of that, cats can see clearly in the dark, using roughly just one-sixth of the amount of light needed by humans to see clearly in the dark.
Not just that, cats are also thought to have a unique structure behind their retina called the tapetum. Essentially, the tapetum is believed to help improve a cat’s vision in the dark.
To give you a vivid picture of what we are talking about, the tapetum features brilliant cells that act as a mirror; this helps reflect the light that passes in between a cat’s rods and the cones back to the photoreceptors.
This provides the retina with the opportunity to pick up a small amount of light in the dark. And just so you know, this is the reason cats’ eyes glow in the dark.
Frequently asked questions
Do cats recognize themselves in a mirror?
For over half a century, experts have studied the idea of self-recognition in animals, and that includes self-awareness in cats. But as explained by popular science, felines don’t recognize themselves in the mirror. So, forget all those fancy videos and cute images in your home; your cat is probably not aware of what he sees when he looks sternly into a mirror.
Are cats color blind?
Despite the many misconceptions about this, we are happy to let you know that cats can see colors. The only difference here is that they see colors differently from humans, and that’s because they have very few of the cones that are designed to respond to red light. Due to this, cats tend to see things in blue, grey, and yellow.
Do cats see better at night?
Besides being nocturnal animals, cats have a better advantage of sight than humans at night. Thanks to their powerful night vision, felines can see way better than humans in the dark. The only caveat is that they cannot see as far as humans.
Cats’ unique sight makes them a lot different from humans. While humans can see colors clearly, cats are believed to be color blind and can only recognize a few colors like gray, blue, and yellow. Also, in terms of distance, cats are nearsighted.