Ever wondered what a cat’s vision is like? Some say that cats see everything in black and white, while others say they don’t. In addition, another very common question is whether cats can see in the dark (and, in this case, many wonder how their night vision works). What no one can deny is that the cat’s eye plays a fundamental role in the lives of pets, and that’s why it’s our duty to try to understand more about the subject.
How do cats see?
When it comes to the cat’s eye, one of the main doubts is what colors these animals see. Despite the theory that cats see everything in black and white, this is far from the truth. In fact, feline vision is not very different from ours, so they can perceive almost all colors except one, which many believe to be green.
But even if that’s the belief, there’s no consensus or definitive research that clarifies exactly what colors cats see. What is known is that while humans have three photoreceptor cells that capture the colors red, blue and green, cats have only two of these cells. Therefore, one of these colors – in theory, green – is not captured by the cat’s eye, so objects with this color end up taking on a shade of gray.
Another important point about how cats see is peripheral vision. Have you noticed that almost nothing surprises felines? Well, this is due to the fact that they have a much wider vision than ours: while humans can see everything at an angle of up to 180º, feline peripheral vision reaches 200º. The only blind spot of these animals is below the chin. Despite this, the cat’s eye has a small “defect”: because it has a smaller number of cones in the retina, the distance vision of pets is not very good. That is, cats see everything blurry and unfocused if they are far away – but this is not a big problem for the species as this balances out with the help of other senses.
Can cats see in the dark?
It’s only dusk to realize that, yes, cats see in the dark (and much better than we imagine, even). The explanation is simple: cats are nocturnal animals, so it makes perfect sense that they have better night vision to guide them in the dark.
Scientifically, it is necessary to know a little bit of feline anatomy to better understand this aptitude. The retina is a thin layer of the cat’s eye formed by structures that capture and decode images, called cones and rods. Cones are responsible for color perception and daytime vision, as already seen. Rods, on the other hand, play an important role in night vision, as they help to capture ambient light, even if it is not very bright.
Another structure that helps with this is the tapetum lucidum, a membrane present at the back of the cat’s eye that reflects any ray of light. Generally speaking, the pupils dilate in search of any light, the rods “catch” the light – if any – and the tapetum lucidum transforms it into a reflector, sharpening the night vision of these animals.
6 cat eye diseases that need attention
Cataract in cats is a disease that affects a specific part of the eye: the lens. It is this structure that allows clear vision and helps to form the images, so any problem that affects the region will make it difficult for the animal to see and can even lead to blindness. One of the main symptoms is the opacity of the lens, leaving the cat’s eye whitish or bluish.
2) Feline Chlamydia
It is an eye infection caused by a bacterium that is easily transmitted and considered very dangerous. Usually, one of the signs that indicate the problem is the cat with red eyes, but other symptoms can also be noticed, such as secretion and ulcers in the eyeball. In addition, feline chlamydiosis also manifests as a respiratory infection, causing cats to cough and sneeze.
Feline conjunctivitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the conjunctiva, the membrane that covers the cat’s eye. It can have different causes, being infectious or non-infectious, and usually manifests when immunity is low. The cat with red eyes, itching and patching are the main indications of the disease. Excessive tearing, constant blinking and swelling of the region can also be observed.
Glaucoma in cats is defined by increased intraocular pressure in the eye, which can lead to optic nerve degeneration and progressive loss of vision. In addition to the red eye, the disease can leave the cat’s pupil dilated and cause corneal opacity. A medical evaluation is necessary as soon as possible to delay the progression of glaucoma and offer a better quality of life to the pet.
5) Ocular toxoplasmosis
Ocular toxoplasmosis is a very dangerous cat eye disease that causes a lot of concern. Caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii, toxoplasmosis can lodge in different parts of the body, including the eyes. In these cases, the cat with red eyes, sensitive to light and with difficulty seeing are the main symptoms. Although it is not very common, it requires attention and must be treated as soon as possible, or it can lead the animal to go blind.
Feline uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, an area of the cat’s eye that has many blood vessels and has the function of protecting intraocular fluid. It can be caused by injuries and minor injuries, or it can be derived from a pre-existing condition, such as cataracts. A cat’s eye-watering and watering is one of the signs of the disease, as well as photophobia (sensitivity to light), pain and excessive blinking.