One reason cats make skilled hunters is that they can see UV light. Felines are privy to an entirely different worldview than humans; learn just how different your kitty’s vision is from your own.
Field of View
Felines have a significantly wider field of view, about 200 degrees, which allows them to spot small prey or dangerous activity out of the corner of their eyes much more effectively than humans can. Additionally, since cats are naturally active at the low-light times of the day — dawn and dusk — they have amazing night vision. Unlike human eyes, cats’ eyes have a plethora of rod cells, which allow them to pick up more low light. The elliptical shape of a cat’s eyes helps reflect light, which in turn allows them to see small movements and silhouettes, even in low light.
While scientists are not exactly certain which colors cats see, the consensus is that they do not perceive all of the same colors as humans. While cat eyes have more rods than human eyes, people have significantly more cones than felines. These cones allow us to perceive the full range of color. Cats, on the other hand, have limited color vision. Many scientists believe the spectrum is limited to blues and grays for cats while others believe that their color vision is similar to that of a dog.
The Nearsighted Effect
While most humans can typically see objects clearly at distances of 100 to 200 feet, cats can only clearly perceive objects about 20 feet away. Unlike humans, felines do not possess eye muscles that allow them to change the shape of their eye lenses, which translates into a nearsighted field of vision. In addition to rendering them nearsighted, the lack of these eye muscles also means that, while cats are great at noticing rapid movements such as the sudden dash of a mouse, they perceive many slow-moving objects as stationary.
Cats, like many predators, are capable of seeing UV light. This trait can help them detect urine trails that lead to prey or even spot the particular reflection of a target’s fur when it might otherwise be camouflaged.
While cats can detect UV light and humans cannot, it is important to note that the ability to see UV light often creates a blurred visual image. Because of this, humans have much clearer vision than cats. While cats can easily detect sharp movement and the quick scattering of prey, it is likely that these images are much blurrier than they would be when seen by a human.
Cats are amazing animals, and when pet parents better understand how their four-legged companion’s vision differs from their own, a whole world of unique kitty behavior becomes clear.
Content reviewed by a veterinarian.
Photo ©iStock.com/Altin Osmanaj