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Are Cats Color Blind?
A peep into the cat's world!
Seeing a rainbow in the sky is a visual experience that includes hues ranging from crimson to violet. But have you ever wondered about what your cat sees in a rainbow? Is your cat able to identify the same spectrum of tones as you? Is he able to make out black and white stripes? Is there a haze to the colors? Or if they are colorblind?
We tell you that you’re not alone if you’ve ever wondered! And while we’re probably aware that our feline companions don’t see the world the same way we do, we may have asked ourselves, “are cats color blind?”
Sure, it may seem like an odd question, but there is a lot of research showing that cats do not see as many colors as humans do.
Bright fluffy toys, shiny crinkle balls, and laser pointers with intense colors may not be taking full advantage of what cats see in these toys. So, for example, if you have a cat at home, you know how they enjoy chasing, jumping up, and catching anything in their path. A cat has many abilities, but it was not born with the ability to choose a new toy because it is red.
Generally speaking, cats can see some colors, but not the same way we can. So let’s look at how cats see and the colors they can discern with their eyes.
Are All Cats Color Blind?
Cats can see color, but the shades they perceive lack the variety and vibrancy that humans enjoy. Red and green fizzle into gray for them, while blue and yellow are their best options.
To give you an idea, a cat’s field of vision is 200 degrees wider than a human’s, and its visual acuity is lower. A cat’s vision is limited to about 20 feet, whereas a human’s vision is limited to about 100-200 feet.
However, there is a trade-off: Cats are light years ahead of us, thanks to their retinal array of photoreceptors when it comes to dim-light vision. When a cat’s pupils are constricted, they resemble narrow slits. However, when engorged, their elliptical pupils can dilate to nearly the total size of their eyelids, allowing as much light as possible.
When it comes to night vision, cats (and dogs) have far more rod cells than cone cells, which are better at detecting low-light conditions and are responsible for cats seeing in the dark better. Cones detect hue, whereas rods detect light as well as movement.
During the night, rods focus on what one can see and the peripheral vision (peripheral and night vision). Since the rod cells can refresh more quickly, cats can pick up on fast movements, such as a roving laser dot’s rapidly shifting path.
According to Keeping Pet, the color perception of a cat’s eyes differs from that of human vision, so the cat versions of these images appear more muted. In the past, scientists believed that cats were dichromats, able to only distinguish between red and green, but this is not the case. A little bit of green appears to be visible to feline photoreceptors, which are most sensitive to wavelengths in the violet and greenish-yellow ranges.
To put it another way, cats, like many of us, are primarily colorblind from red to green, with a sprinkling of green.
Are Blue-Eyed Cats Blind?
It’s been going around, haven’t you heard? “White cats are more likely to become blind.” The good news is that none of these statements can be said to be “completely” accurate. However, the bad news is that cats with blue eyes and a white coat are more likely to become deaf.
According to research, white cats with non-blue-colored eyes are more likely than other white cats to be born deaf. For example, one blue eye in a white cat increases the risk of deafness by 40%. When a white cat has both blue-colored eyes, the likelihood of deafness rises from 65 to 85 percent. Consequently, if your kitty has blue eyes, there is an excellent chance she is deaf. If she is, we wish her well.
How Do We Know Cats Are Color Blind?
Even though we can’t just ask a cat what colors inspire them, we know that cats are unique creatures with incredible eyes! According to Business Insider, researchers have made fascinating discoveries about what cats’ eyes are capable of.
Studies have included cat vision simulations, giving us an idea of the cat’s vision. Cats, for example, have been tested using food and color panels to see if they can tell the difference between different hues. The animal can choose one color over another to get a food reward.
Color vision in cats has been researched in at least 2 ways. One is comparable to the red/green test above. Scientists have gone above and beyond by employing a most irresistible cat lure: LED laser pointers. One study used single-color LEDs to test cats’ responses to color. What was their conclusion? Cats have a color vision gap of around 505 nanometers (bright green), making them a good model for red-green colorblindness in humans.
Of course, researchers have noticed the number of the cone (color receptors) and rod (light receptors) cells in cat eyes. Even though the number and diversity of cone cells in a cat’s eye are limited, they outperform light-receptive rod cells.
Check out these cat perspective images if you want to see the world through the eyes of a feline. Cats can see some colors, but which ones are the best for them? Only the blue-violet and yellow-green wavelengths of light are visible to cats’ two color-detecting cones. Cats, like dogs, tend to see the world in shades of yellow, gray, and blue, but some researchers believe that cats may also see some shades of green.
Why Are Cats Color Blind?
The retina is the most exciting distinction between cat eyes and yours. Cats don’t need to see vivid colors because they’ve adapted to track and kill in the relative darkness. As a result, the retina in their eyes has eight times the number of rods as that is yours. Aside from the two light receptors, rods and cones, vision relies on the ability to distinguish colors and details. But rods are more sensitive to light than cones. During dusk and dawn, cats use this ability to spot even the tiniest creatures.
Many people believe that cats cannot perceive color because they have so few cones in their retinas. Even if they can’t perceive color in the same way as humans, they aren’t completely color blind either. Blue and yellowish-greenish wavelengths of light are more sensitive to cats. As a result, they can clearly discern these hues (still not as well as humans).
Color blindness isn’t a simple question to answer. As many people believe, color blindness is not really about seeing the world in black and white but rather about distinguishing some colors from the others; the most common condition is being unable to tell green from red or blue from yellow.
Monochromatism is a condition in which a creature sees the world only in black and white, which is highly uncommon.
People with red-green color blindness are most closely related to cats because their cones are most sensitive to blue and yellow.
Final Words – Are Cats Color Blind?
And if you are ever blessed with only a rainbow in the sky, you can be sure that your feline friends will be able to enjoy it as well. A little bit of yellow and blue might be visible to him. And he’s perfectly content with that! Compared to what we see as humans, a cat’s vision serves its purpose well because of its limited range of colors and sharpness.
Next time you go shopping, buy toys in blue and yellow and objects that dart and move. All these can be helpful in their development.