What Colors Can Cats See? Know In Detail!

We all know about the marvelous sensory abilities of a cat. In fact, there have been times when we have even wanted to replicate those abilities. After all, who wouldn’t want to tiptoe to the kitchen, in the middle of the night for a munch? But there’s one ‘cat ability’ you wouldn’t want for yourself. Their vision. Though big cats have impeccable vision, house cats cannot differentiate between colors! So, what colors can cats see? Also, what does their world look like? How do their eyes work? We have answers to all your queries! 

As you scroll down this post, you will get a fair idea about the ‘range of colors’ they can see, those shades that miss their cat’s eyes, how you would understand whether they are color blind or not, and a little bit of info about their night vision. Let us give you a glimpse of it all – 

What colors can cats see? 

what colors can cat see
Image Credit: Cats Breed List

The shades that are most prominent to your dear feline friend are – blues and greens! Additionally, they also see tinges of grey and yellow. Speaking from a scientific perspective – cats can particularly see the ‘yellow-green’ and ‘blue-violet’ wavelengths of light. The other shades somewhat seem like a ‘darker hue’ but they cannot make out the ‘precise shade’ that comes to their viewpoint. 

Since their visionary spectrum is shorter than their human counterparts, hence they focus more on brightness and movement aspects to navigate through. 

Which colors are they not able to see? 

colors that cats can see
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Now that you have figured out what colors can cats see how about quickly checking out the hues that they cannot see? We will give you the list – 

For the unversed, the cat’s colour-detecting cones in their eyes are categorically sensitive to yellow-green and blue-violet wavelengths. When it comes to ‘reds’ – the cats cannot view them in all their richness. This is due to the fact that their eye’s cones are insensitive to the wavelengths of red (or any of the associated shades, like pink/orange). For them these colors are more of a washout than vibrant. 

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Even in the case of ‘purple’ color specifically, the feline vision restricts it to multiple shades of blue. 

Is your cat color blind?

is your cat color blind
Image Credit: The Dodo

The fact that you are here supposedly questioning what colors can cats see does probably worry you – whether your little one is color blind or not. To get an answer to this, you must understand the science behind their vision. Let us explain the details to you – 

Quite like humans, cats also have rods and cones in their retinas. As photoreceptor cells, cones register the different hues and accelerate the sharpness of vision, while rods enhance the view in dark surroundings. That’s not all! Cats possess 3 types of cones that offer peak absorption rates and hence can distinguish between multiple shades. 

Having said that, there has been no proven instance of colorblindness in cats. But due to certain other diseases like – retinal detachment or degeneration, cats can face an issue while recognizing the range of shades, which could be equivalent to a human reference of red-green color blindness. 

How far can your cat see? 

Keeping other aspects constant, to put things into perspective when comparing with a human vision which is 20/20, a cat’s vision stands at 20/100 or 20/200. Simply put, this implies, that while a human (with fair eyesight) can see up to 100 to 200 feet, cats can only see up to 20 feet. This enhances their predatory instincts massively. 

Can your cats see at night? 

cats seeing at night
Image Credit: Catster

Apart from what colors can cats see another question that has often crossed people’s minds is that – how do or what is the night vision of a cat like? To answer this question, let us ask you another – have you ever seen a cat’s eye glowing in the dark? Well, that’s due to the presence of rods in their retina. As per medical reports, cats have 8 times more rods than humans, which makes their vision better in the dark. 

Additionally, cats are blessed with tapetum lucidum (a thin reflective layer behind the retina), which magnifies the incoming light rays. Though it does not assist in differentiating the hues for them, but enhances their nighttime vision. Therefore, cats need only 1/6th of light compared to humans to see in the dark. 

How to improve your cat’s vision? 

cleaning cats eyes
Image Credit: Daily Paws

Are you worried about what colors can cats see concerning your little pet? After all, your house kitty might not have to hunt for food, but, has to navigate throughout the day. Hence, as a pet parent, it is your job to ensure you help stimulate your kitty’s vision. Here are a few steps you can take to enhance their vision – 

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Clean their eyes regularly 

Though cats are undoubtedly one of the most fashionable of pets (they groom themselves every day), you need to be a little cautious of their eyes. They have runny discharge from their eyes, which you must clean daily. Either use a sterilized warm washcloth or cotton balls, to ease their distress.

Set their plate correctly 

The food that your feline friend consumes is of prime importance in enhancing its vision. Ensure that the little one’s plate is packed with taurine (an amino acid that is a protein-building block). Include seafood and meat in their diet. 

Put them through a light exercise routine 

You would be surprised to know that certain cat exercises like – cat toys, reflex games, or even laser pointers are of great help to your feline companion. Spend some time engaging in such activities with them to enhance their vision. 

Take your kitty to the vet annually 

Cats normally face issues like – unusual discharge, pupil enlargement, or cloudiness. Take your kitty for an annual eye checkup to maintain its vision.  

Conclusion 

Cats as you already know are majestic beings (both the big cats and the house ones). You might be concerned as a pet parent about what colors can cats see, but as a matter of fact, their world is different but as beautiful as ours. Rather, as natural hunters, their vision is enhanced predatorily compared to us, humans. Therefore, your feline being’s color viewing scheme is different but suitable enough to match their requirements. 

For those of you who have other queries, keep scrolling this post for answers. If you enjoyed reading this post, then keep an eye on the website for more exciting content like this. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. What colors can cats see compared to dogs? 

In terms of their vision – red is the common color that both cats and dogs cannot distinguish. However, studies have found that cats recognize more yellows and blues compared to their canine counterparts. 

2. How is a cat’s vision designed?

A cat’s vision is specifically designed to aid in its survival. On the one hand, they are not adept at making out the finer details or differentiating the multitude of hues. But, on the other hand, they can sense impending danger/stalker and immediately respond with their feline instincts. 

3. Is it good to use specific colors to attract my cat’s attention?

This is helpful while buying cat toys. Compared to the red ones, your feline friend might be more interested in a yellow or blue-hued one. 

4. Do specific colors affect a cat’s behavioral patterns? 

You must understand that, as mentioned before, a cat’s eyesight is characteristically developed to trap their prey. Hence, despite them not being able to distinguish certain colors, it does not affect their behavioral/movement patterns in any way.