An article which helps those with cats understand more about their pets’ eyesight.
Animals of the feline variety are known to have evolved to develop acute senses and some amazing feats of dexterity. So when your cat is purring at you for attention, or most likely a meal, you may wonder how they are viewing the world around them.
Cats Eyes in Comparison to Humans
Cats in the wild, such as tigers and cheetahs, are known for their predatory instincts, with their eyes an important weapon in helping guide them to the potential of a next meal. Cats are thought to be able to see nearly as well as a human, with a focus on motion detection important to track prey, in the wild at least. Although not quite as sophisticated as the human eye, they share our binocular like vision, which means they are likely to have similar levels of depth perception and brain interpretation of 3D imagery around them.
When gazing into the eyes of a cat, you will likely notice that the shape of their pupils is almost like a thin rugby ball, whereas ours is more rounded. This allows for faster opening and closure, as well as improved ability in comparison to us to allow light to enter the eye due to larger pupil size and increased dilation in the dark. This is critical in helping cats effectively hunt at night also, with a tapetum membrane at the back of their eyes also providing reversed reflection of light through the seeing rods we also have as humans.
Use of Cat’s Senses
The sensitivity of a cat’s hearing in conjunction with a keen sense of movement, due to more prevalence of rods in the retina than humans, allows for cunning location of targets for food due to enhanced receptacle sensitivity to sudden motion. With even the slightest movement nearby more noticeable, this makes cats one of nature’s finest killing machines.
Cats have a drawback of sight during the day, however, due to them seeing a lesser colour spectrum and a reduction in vibrancy of colour, much like a dog. Their eyes closing to a slit in bright lights allows for improved depth, although minimizing light let into the eye likely causes a reduction in focus.
A Cat’s Third Eyelid and Mood
A rather bizarre fact about cats is that they have a third eyelid for added protection called the nictitating membrane, which closes from the side of the eye and moistens to protect the cornea. While it will also close as an indication of sickness, it shouldn’t be always apparent either.
When your cat stares at you for a long time, it can be both intimidating and endearing, depending on your preference to the felines, with them not requiring the need to blink often like we do due to the natural lubricated effects they possess. If your cat has its eyes wide open, this can indicate either fear or excitement, much like the reaction in a human, while a narrowing of the pupil indicates an angry cat which likely hasn’t been fed for some time!