We have always wondered what color animals perceive the world and if they have the same vision as humans. But studies have shown that cats do not see the colors as we do, mainly because they are known for being hunters, and their vision is on alert for predators.
We always thought that all animals could only see the world in black and white, but this is not true. Cats might not perceive colors as vividly as we do, but they can see different variations of them. However, their retina is more delicate than ours, so it’s more sensitive to blue-yellow light.
We all tend to be slightly color blind because we perceive more red and green colors than the rest. Cats are no different since they usually can discern ultraviolet or gray wavelengths. Please keep reading to find out what other colors they can see!
Are Cats Able To See Colors?
The visual field of a cat is wider than humans because they can capture an image at 200 degrees, which is bigger than the human eye can. This allows them to better look at their surroundings and be on high alert for a potential predator.
However, the fact that they can have a much bigger picture of an area doesn’t mean they can perceive every detail of it. Most humans can identify and complete an image that is 100 feet away from us, but this is not reasonably possible for cats. The cells inside the cat’s retina will identify color and movement thanks to their night-vision capability.
This often helps cats to catch the mobility of an object faster in comparison to us. Because even though we can detect an item and construct an image from a certain distance, cats, on the other hand, utilize their senses and cells to feel to know if someone or something is approaching them.
The cones around the retina area of a cat are responsible for their perception and depending on the time. Therefore, they will be able to identify the colors of their surroundings differently. This is why their eyes tend to go bigger when closer to very bright lights.
On the other hand, Rods will detect any sensitive motion, and this will guide them to identify the size of what is approaching depending on the dimmer of the light; cats will be able to recognize three types of colors: red, green, and blue.
The rest of the colors perceived are just a combination of these three. Just like humans, cats have a base when it comes to distinguishing a variety of tones, and because their retina does not have enough cones, the intensity of the colors may be low.
What Does Research Say?
Scientifics started research on cats to determine if the intensity level of the colors was noticed by all of them or just a few. Surprisingly, the felines could see blue-violet color combinations predominantly, with a bit of green thrown in for good measure.
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However, after several experiments, they discovered that this could vary depending on the kitten. This leads to the conclusion that cats will choose the color they feel most comfortable with or the one they can find to be more precise to identify when moving.
They Can Only See Yellow And Green?
To clarify, it’s not that cats can only see yellow or green tones on their heads. They are able to capture different types of colors and observe them regularly, just not as vividly as we usually do because they are usually more muted. So, for example, the color purple for us could be recognized as blue for them or vice-versa in different shades.
This makes sense because the majority of the colors around us are combinations of the three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. But cats are not able to see red as bright as we do, so when they see an object that is red or comes from a combination of that color, what they’ll brain will do is automatically adjust it to the information it has saved, which in this case turns it into a shade of blue.
Light: Is It Important?
Light is crucial for our cat’s vision. Because when a bright light enters the cornea of their eyes, it will travel into their brains, filling the eyeball until the retina identifies the colors with the main receptors for vision, which are the ones we mentioned below, rods and cones.
This will then be represented as a visual image allowing the brain to identify whatever it is that is in front of them. This function can change during the night because the cat’s retina works differently when there’s no light present. After all, the rods are more sensitive to light, and this is what helps them with night vision.
When cats are exposed to low-light environments, the retina of their eyes adjusts to the environment, transforming colors into shades of gray. This will allow them to discern details as calmly and precisely as if they were near the light.
Cats’ pupils dilate to the greatest extent when they need to focus on something. Therefore, the light is critical because it will give them the appearance of a clear crystal eye. In addition, all of the road movements allow them to detect motion if the brightness of the light changes slightly. It is enabling them to avoid being hunted more efficiently at night than during the day.
Is My Cat Color Blind?
Research has found that cats’ visual images are mainly blue and yellow with some mixes of grey. Since this type of animal is designed for hunting for survival, they are most active during the morning, where they find humans performing most of the activity.
Sometimes whenever someone is getting ready, they tend to leave the TV on with some sort of video or news flashing, and it is not weird to find you’re staring at the screen as if you were understanding what is happening or perceiving the colors as they are in there. And we usually wonder, are they able to see what is happening? Is my cat color blind?
The term color blind was implemented to explain the inability of people to differentiate colors. Especially greens and reds that are formulated in the nerve of the eyeball. Humans have ten times the number of cones as cats, and this is what allows us to see the range of colors, but sometimes this could be altered.
When it comes to perceiving the color itself, feline vision is not as important to them as the one in humans because they are more sense-oriented than visual. Meaning they could smell or hear more actively than we do. The lack of colorful vision could be evened out because cats own several assets located in their body and near their head to give them a broader image.
To wrap it up, we can say that our lovely kittens are not color blind, as commonly stated. Like dogs or any other animals, cats do see the world differently than what we do, but it is mainly because their immune system is built differently and especially to adapt to the habitat or situation needed, the same thing as humans.
If you think your cat is losing vision, which is another factor that could happen, you can try playing with them with some lights or using a laser pointer to see if they follow it correctly or if they miss it at some point. Always remember to take them to the vet if something feels off with your pet!
Cats are built with the visual accommodations required to survive in the wild or in any dangerous area. Consequently, even though they don’t see as many colors as humans, they have exactly what they need for survival.
Their eyes mostly concentrate in the dim light for movements done in the distance, helping them be on alert for a possible hunt. Remember, if you notice your cat having issues with their vision, take them to the vet.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.