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Do Cats See In Color?

Posted on: June 7, 2005

Do Cats See In Color?
by: Dr. Dawn Ruben
Cats are generally considered to be colorblind.

Keeping in mind that your cat evolved from hunters, you can understand why his sense of sight is one of his strongest. But cats are generally considered colorblind.

The retina – the nerve center at the back of the eye – contains cells called cones (responsible for converting light into color) and rods (responsible for black and white). In cats, rods greatly outnumber cones.

Theoretically, color perception is possible since the eye contains some cones, but distinguishing color isn’t necessary for cats. Brightness is far more important. He can see in the dimmest of lights; his eyes can open about three times as wide as the human pupil and let in as much light as possible at the normal “hunting” times of dawn and dusk.

Because of the differences between human and cat retinas, the animals can see using one-sixth of the amount of light people need: At night, for example, objects appear six times brighter to a cat than they do to humans, which helps the animals hunt. In addition to better brightness vision, cats can also detect minute movement, which is easily missed by people – another benefit for a hunter.

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