- Cats have a better capacity to sight in the dark than humans.
- Cats are unable to perceive distant objects as well as humans.
- Cats do not have the ability to see colors as effectively as humans.
So, what do cats actually see?
Artist Nickolay Lamm interviewed three specialists to speculate on how cats see the environment in comparison to humans.
Cats (and dogs) have a large number of rod receptors and a low number of cone receptors. Humans, on the other hand, have the reverse, which explains why we can’t see as well at night but can distinguish colors better.
Field of vision– Cats have a somewhat broader vision field (200 degrees) than the typical human (180 degrees).
Acuity of vision– This relates to the clarity of one’s eyesight. The typical person has 20/20 vision acuity. A cat’s visual acuity ranges from 20/100 to 20/200, implying that a cat must be at 20 feet to see what an ordinary person can see at 100 or 200 feet.
Color perception– It’s a popular misunderstanding that cats can only perceive hues of gray. Humans are trichromats, which means that they have three types of cones that allow them to see red, green, and blue. Cats are trichromats as well, although not in the same manner that humans are. A cat’s eyesight is comparable to that of a colorblind person. They can detect blue and green hues, but reds and pinks might be perplexing. These may appear greener, whilst purple may appear to be a different shade of blue.
Cats, like us, cannot perceive the same richness of colors and saturation of colors that we do.
Proximity– Cats appear to be nearsighted, which means they cannot see distant objects as well as humans. The capacity to perceive close things is ideal for hunting and capturing animals.
The ability to see at night– Cats cannot see fine detail or rich color, but they have a greater capacity to see in the dark due to a large number of rods in their retina that are sensitive to dim light. As a result, cats can see with about one-sixth the amount of light that humans require.
For this research, Nickolay Lamm collaborated with Kerry L. Ketring, DVM, DACVO of All Animal Eye Clinic, Dr. DJ Haeussler of The Animal Eye Institute, and the Penn Vet Ophthalmology department.
If you have a cat as a pet and went on camping with him/her with a backpack, at night, you might see your cat’s eyes are glowing. Now you know that cats can’t see in absolute dark, but they have very good eyesight in near proximity.