Cats and Dogs
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Can cats see in full color?

Can Cats and Dogs See Color?

Can Cats and Dogs See Color?

You may find yourself wondering a few important things about your pets; » do cats and dogs like music? ”, or “ are cats really afraid of cucumbers? ” or even more importantly, “ am I a cat or a dog person? » These are all very valid questions, and there’s another age old query we’re debunking today — can cats and dogs see color?

Perception of color is determined by the presence of cells in the eye, these cells are called cone photoreceptors. Human photoreceptors are different from that of cats and dogs. The retina of the eye has two main types of cells—rods (which detect light levels and motion), and cones (which differentiate color). Humans have more cones than dogs and cats, which gives us an edge with perceiving a broader spectrum of color than our four legged friends. However, dogs and cats have more rods in their eyes than we do, which allows them to see better in the dark.

What Cats Can See:

We know our cats love chasing laser pointers and shiny objects, but why? Although this behavior is partially caused by their hunting instincts, it also is related to what cats can actually see. Cats are crepuscular, which means they are active at dawn and dusk. Because of this, great night vision is quite important. Although they cannot see in pitch dark, they only need about 15% of the light that humans do to see at night. Their eyes have six to eight times more rod cells than humans do, which makes them more sensitive to low light. They are also better at spotting motion in the dark than humans are. This improves their hunting skills and can help protect them from potential predators.

Can Cats See Colors?

Now that we’re caught up on cats’ night vision skills, it’s time to answer another popular question; can cats see color? The answer is yes! To compare cats’ color vision to humans, human eyes have three types of cones that can identify combinations of red, green, and blue. Cats only have two types of cones, which is called dichromatic vision. To put it in perspective, a cat’s normal vision is similar to a human who has red-green color blindness. For example, red may appear brown or grey to your kitty, and blue and purple will look exactly the same to them.

What Dogs Can See

Dogs tend to be more nearsighted than humans. Because of this, they can look at an object from the same distance as us and it will appear blurry to them. However, our four legged friends have us ocularly beat in several other departments. Due to the placement of their eyes, dogs have much better peripheral vision than their humans. Like cats, dogs’ ancestors were also crepuscular, and their night vision is far better than their humans’. Furthermore, canines also have more rod cells in the retina than humans, so they can detect small movements, even at great distances. This is especially true for sighthound breeds!

Can Dogs See Colors?

Many dog owners wonder about dog color vision, and there was an old fallacy that dogs were colorblind. This is not the case at all. Dogs can perceive all colors, but they don’t always see the “true” color. Dogs can see shades of yellow and blue. They may have trouble differentiating between certain colors and hues. Like cats, dogs have dichromatic vision. Their view of the world is also similar to a human who has red-green color blindness. Their red ball may appear brown or grey, and their blue and purple toys will look exactly the same to them. Luckily, pups can also use their great sense of smell to help them identify different objects.

Pet owners should keep their fur baby’s visual strengths and weaknesses in mind when shopping for toys for them to find ones they will enjoy most and be able to clearly see.

Are Cats Color Blind? A Look Into How Cat’s See the World

Blue golden shaded british shorthair cat with green eyes

Have you ever stopped to wonder if your cat sees colors in the same way that you do? If you’re looking at bright new toys for your furry friend, are some colors going to catch their attention more than others? Before we dive into the details, know that cats aren’t color blind and can see a range of colors. Unlike humans, though, they don’t see them as vibrantly, and they can’t see such a broad range of colors as we can.

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How do humans see colors?

Both cats and humans rely on one type of specialist cell to see color. These cells are called cones and are located in the retina. There are three different types of cones used to detect the colors red, blue, and green. The large number of cones in the human eye means we can perceive a full range of colors.

How do cats see colors?

In comparison to humans, cats have far fewer cones, meaning that while they can still perceive a range of colors, it’s not as extensive as what we may see. Scientists are undecided on exactly what colors that cats can actually see, though. Some suggest that they can see grays and blues, while others think that cats can also see yellow. Reds and pinks are least likely to be perceived by cats. It’s likely that these appear as greens. Purple also isn’t perceived that well by cats, and it’s thought that they see this color as more of a blue shade.

Dilute Tortoiseshell cat with yellow eyes_Mary Swift_shutterstock

Rods in the retina also matter

The other types of cells in the retina are rods. These are used for light and motion detection. Cats have more rods than us humans. This means their abilities to see in low-light conditions are far superior to ours. They’re also far better at noticing small movements.

Cats versus humans

It’s thought that cats probably see different colors but possibly less vibrant versions compared to what we see. Cats don’t see the brightness of colors the same way that we do either, so they may see shades that we perceive differently as all the same tone.

In the wild, cats don’t need to see bright colors as much as they need to detect motion and see in low-light conditions. Their eyes are still adapted to hunting in arid desert areas with little variation in colors.

What color toys are best for cats?

You might be wondering how your cat’s ability to perceive colors will affect the color of toys that they may be attracted to. Cats will most likely be attracted to toys in blues and yellows. Red, pink, and purple toys are least likely to catch their attention.

What really matters, though, is if your cat enjoys playing with toys or not! Sometimes, it will be the movements and smells of their toys that attract them, rather than the colors.

cat and woman nose to nose

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Wrapping it up

Cats are not completely color blind, and they probably see colors similar to a human with red-green color blindness. Cats don’t perceive reds, pinks, or purples as well as we can. The colors that they can see best are blues, grays, and yellows.

Cats might not see all the colors of the rainbows, but they do see motion much better than we can. Their vision in low-light is also much better than ours. Your cat’s eyes are perfectly adapted for helping them do what they do best, which is hunting in low-light conditions.

Featured Image Credit: Anna Azarenko, Shutterstock

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