My cat seems to get up to more mischief when it is dark, either at night or in a darkened house/room, than it does during the brightness of the day. It started me thinking about cats’ eyesight, and thought it would make a good article to share with our readers.
Cats like many other animals,have a tapetum lucidum, – a reflective layer (a bit like a photoreceptor) behind their retina that acts a bit like a mirror and sends light that passes through the retina back into the eye. This is an advantage in very low light and darkness, but becomes very inefficient during very bright times.
As a result of this,
- Cats can see better at night than humans
- Cats have a better peripheral vision – 200o or more, as opposed to humans who have 180o
- Humans have got better colour perception than cats
You might have noticed that, like humans, cats’ eyes face forward. This is a trait with most predators. This gives them good depth perception – an advantage when hunting.
Cats can see some colors, but research has shown that cats have more sensitivity to the ultra violet end of the spectrum and therefore is less likely to distinguish colors at the other end of the spectrum – magentas, reds, oranges, etc.
Another interesting fact that I found is that cats have a second eyelid, which is called the nictitating membrane. This is a thin cover that closes from the side. It appears when the cat’s eyelid opens. Quite often, this membrane partially closes when the cat is sick, or when they are in a sleepy state.
Did you know that cats do not need to blink their eyes like humans do on a regular basis to keep their eyes lubricated (with tears ). Unblinking eyes are more of an advantage when hunting. However, cats will “squint” their eyes. This is usually done as a form of communication expressing affection and ease around another cat or human.
Well I’ve learnt something today. Hopefully you have too! Check out the video below from Animalist, it’s not so much about cats’ vision but how they see the world. Enjoy the laugh … I did.
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