Illuminated nights and built-in wide angle… have you ever wondered how your cat’s eyesight works?
The many feline’s skills are now widely known. Jumps from exceptional heights, quick reflexes to catch anything and gracefulness in movements. Yet that’s not all, cats also have excellent eyesight compared to most animals. Let’s find out what reality looks like in the eyes of our felines.
A very important feature for cats is the width of their field of view. In fact, their view is wider than that of us human beings. Cats are able to see 200 degrees without making any head movements. Suffice it to say that man instead stops at 180. It doesn’t seem like such a significant difference, but in reality the change is significant, even if it is only 20 degrees more!
The large field of vision of felines is very useful. It allows them to better find their prey and sense the movements around them. Sight is the first step of “hunting” and that’s why, thanks also to their viewing angle, they win the podium among the best small-sized hunting mammals.
The sight of cats in the dark
It is in situations of low light or even darkness that the cats’ vision offers the greatest advantages. The vision of the cat in the dark is developed from 6 to 8 times more than that of the human being.
This exceptional skill is due to several factors. The first of these is the tapetum lucidum, which consists of a layer of cells near the retina that allows to capture more light. In this way, the ability to distinguish shapes and objects in the dark increases significantly, obtaining an almost “daylight” vision.
Furthermore, cats have more rods than us, which are useful for night vision. Cats’ pupils are also important. Their ellipse shape allows greatly dilating in the dark, helping vision in dark conditions.
Are cats short-sighted?
While cats’ eyesight is acute and noteworthy, they aren’t particularly good at “far” vision. To have a clear view of objects in the distance, cats need a maximum distance of 6 meters. It is significant if we consider that human beings are able to distinguish clearly up to 50-60 meters. For cats, however, the same rule does not apply.
The tapetum lucidum we were talking about earlier is responsible for this “myopia”. If on the one hand it greatly helps night vision, on the other it reduces visual sharpness, especially in strong lighting conditions.
A colourful world
Cats’ eyesight allows them to see the reality in color. Although they can perceive fewer nuances than us, the felines’ world is colorful. They are in fact able to distinguish different colors such as yellow, purple, blue and green. Conversely however, they do not see orange, red and brown.
This particular distinction between perceived and non-perceived colors is due to the lack of the fovea. The human eye has a particular area of the retina, where many cones is concentrated, these are the elements responsible for color vision.
Although cats have a good number of cones in the retina, they have a greater number of rods. This feature does not allow them to distinguish colors clearly as happens for humans, but it makes them able to see moving objects more clearly.