SAY IT ISN’T SO: CATS & DOGS ARE JUST LIKE COLOR-BLIND HUMANS! Are you telling me my cat doesn’t look at the color pink and think of “it as a girls color” or look at the color purple and think of it as “royalty color”? That’s right, of course cats and dogs don’t prejudge a colors meaning, they don’t see the same colors as humans do. Colors are not the most important thing with cats. Their eyes are adapted more to seeing movement for hunting prey.
It was once thought that animals, including cats and dogs, could only see in black and white (shades of gray). However, scientists have proven this to be a myth. In all animals, including humans, the perception of color is determined by the presence of cells in the eye called cone photoreceptors.
Humans are known as trichromats, meaning they have three kinds of cones that allow them to see red, green, and blue. Cats and dogs are just like color-blind humans, seeing some colors but not all of them. Cats are also thought to be trichromats, but not in the same way that humans are.
What colors do cats like the most? Cats do not see colors the same way we do. Because humans have 10 times more cones than cats do, they appreciate more color variations. In scientific observations, cats don’t appear to perceive the full range of colors that humans can. Some scientists believe that cats see only blue and gray, while others think they see also see yellow like their canine counterparts. Blue is a component in color such as purple, meaning your cat’s purple prey will look blue instead of gray. Other colors, such as pink may look gray or black to your kitty.
What gives cats their superior night vision, besides their hugely dilating pupils? It is a higher density of light-sensitive rod cells and a special reflective layer in the retina called the tapetum. Cats can’t see fine detail or rich color but have a superior ability to see in the dark. Cats can see using roughly one-sixth the amount light that people need. It is thought cats see 10 times better in the dark than humans.
Cats eyes have evolved to see the movement of prey and especially prey’s movement at night. Hiding under bushes, detecting movement, then pouncing from their concealed space has been natural and effective for cat’s survival over the millennia.