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The cat's eyes: what can they see?


Dogs rely primarily on their sense of smell, people rely on their eyes. How does a cat perceive its environment? How important are the cat's eyes for the orientation of the kitty? The sense of sight is especially helpful for cats when hunting in low light conditions. Intense cat look: But what do cats see with their eyes? - Shutterstock / Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova

People can perceive the most diverse color facets with their eyes and see them quite clearly. However, such details are not relevant for a cat to find its way in its world. But cats see things that are hidden from the human eye, especially at dusk.

The cat's eyes have a wide field of vision

The cat's eyes, like the human eyes, are oriented forward so that they have excellent spatial vision. However, the fur noses have proportionally larger eyes than humans, so they have a wider field of vision. People can see about 180 degrees at a time with their eyes, but the cat sees 200 to 220 degrees without having to move their heads. At the edges of the visual field, however, the contours of both humans and cats are perceived as blurred.

How sharp do cats see?

When it comes to visual acuity, human eyes have something ahead of the cat's eyes. Cats usually see things that are more than six meters away somewhat blurry. For this, a cat's eyes can register rapid movements immediately, which is of great benefit to them when hunting.

Cat's eyes: mesmerizing looks

This is how cats perceive colors

Human eyes have so-called cones, which are responsible for color perception. Three different cones enable us to perceive short-wave, medium-wave and long-wave light. This corresponds to the shades of blue, yellow and red as well as mixed colors and different facets of these shades. Cat eyes, on the other hand, have only two different cones for short and medium-wave light, so they can only recognize the colors blue and yellow, but no shades of red.

Cat look in the twilight

Your cat may have fewer cones than you, but it does have more chopsticks in its eye that are sensitive to light. That alone ensures that your kitty can see better than you in poor light. In addition, cats have a reflective layer behind the retina called "Tapetum lucidum". The light that falls on it is thrown back onto the retina like a mirror.

If you take a picture of your cat using a flash, you can see this layer as white or light blue spots instead of the eyes in the photo. Cats with the special layer can use the available light to a greater extent so that they can still hunt well after sunset. However, cats cannot see in complete darkness any more than humans can.


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