What Colors Can Cats Really See?

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What Colors Do Cats See?

When it comes to cats, there are a lot of myths that seems to circulate about them.

That’s were I come in.

My goal is to find these myths that many people still seem to believe and find out of they are true or not. Kind of like a myth buster of cats. Today’s myth, What Colors Can Cats See?

I have started debunking some myths like, why are black cats considered back luck?

And this myth is one that I feel like has not been reviewed by most. I want to talk about the myths that many people think about what cats can see, and then finally debunk it.

The Myth About Colors Cats See

So, let’s start by talking about the many myths that exist.

Do Cats See in color or in black and white?

Some people think that cats see only in black and white. They think that because many think they based on the their brains development that they can only see in basically a grey scale.

Another myth is that cats see exactly what humans see.

Their brains are actually more similar to humans than they are dogs, so it would make sense for people to not believe the grey scale and go to the complete opposite direction, they see what we see.

Do Cats See In Black And White?

Unfortunately, when we talk about facts about cats, there some more scientific information that goes into it. So, to help our understanding even better, let’s talk about how color is actually “seen”.

As most people know, color comes from the nerve cells in the eyes. In the retina of the eye, there are two main types of cells that distinguish color and sight. Those are rod cells and cones cells.

Cone cells are used for the ability to differentiate color as they are color sensitive cells. Human and cat eyes have three types of cones that can identify combinations of red, blue, and green.

Just as cones are responsible for distinguishing colors, rods have a special job to do as well. Rods detect light levels and motion.

Do Cats See Color?

Ready to get down to the truth?!

I know I sure was! I wanted to know,

The truth is a combination of the myths!!!

Crazy! In short, cat’s color perception can see very similar to humans.

They are limited in the ALL the colors that they see. They can see some colors, and others tend to blur.

I would equate it to someone who is color blind.

How Does A Cat’s Vision Compare To Human Vision?

Cats have a wider field of view — about 200 degrees, compared with humans’ 180 degrees view.

However, humans have a greater visual acuity compared to their feline friends.

Most cats only see up to about 20 feet, whereas humans can usually see objects clearly ten times farther, up to 200 feet away. This is, of course, unless they are nearsighted.

The average 20/20 vision human.

How Do Cats See Colors?

The human retina has about 10 times more cones, the light receptors that function best in bright light, than cats’ eyes have.

Cats, however, have more rod cells in the retina than a normal human.

What are rod cells?

As you read above, rods are responsible for detecting motion at great distances.

So, when compared to humans, cats see better in dim light (dusk and dawn) and more accurately detect motion.


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Humans also have three types of cones, allowing them to see a broad spectrum of colors, with sensitivity peaks at red, green and blue.

But because humans have 10 times more cones than cats do, they appreciate more color variations.

In scientific observations, cats don’t appear to perceive the full range of colors that humans can.

Some scientists believe that cats see only blue and gray, while others think they see also see yellow like their canine counterparts.

In comparison, a cat’s vision is similar to a human who is color blind.

They can see shades of blue and green, but reds and pinks can be confusing.

These may appear more green, while purple can look like another shade of blue.


What do cats see when they look at humans?

So how do the cats see the world? Myth debunked, cats visions are not completely grey scale.

But if you were someone who believe that they see exactly the same as we do, you are half right.

Compared to human eyes, cats actually have much better eye sight in dim light as well as overall night vision.

However, human vision wins when it comes the color spectrum. Pretty cool huh!

And while the topic of rods and cones tends to lose some people (me at first), it’s actually quite interesting.

They see exactly the same as some humans. Humans who are color blind. So not like every human. But hey! That makes cats more like us than we originally thought!


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3 thoughts on “What Colors Can Cats Really See?”

  1. How about when cats seem to see things we cannot. I have always thought my cats can see a dimension humans can’t. Example is when my cat is looking up and following something, very intently, with his eye, moving his head to follow even pawing at the air. Do cats have the ablility to see things we can not?

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