Everything you need to know about a cat's eyes: vision, colors...

Everything You Need To Know About A Cat’S Eyes: Vision, Colors…

Hypnotizing, fascinating and mysterious, the eyes of the cat give him a gaze as incredible as sometimes disturbing, with their vertical pupils and their deep iris. But what makes cat eyes so attractive? What are their particularities? This is what we will see in this article.

The Powerful Vision Of The Cat

In all mammals, the eyes, and especially the retina, are composed of a multitude of photoreceptor cells (cells capable of capturing light), which are called rods or cones. By way of comparison, humans have 120 million rods, while cats have 200 million, which means that the vision of the cat compared to that of humans is clearly superior.

These same rods allow cats to see very easily at night, and moreover, the pupil of the cat is able to dilate much more than that of humans in the dark, which means that these rods can receive more light and therefore give a better night view. These animals, which can see in the dark, are said to be nyctalopes.

The Cat And Its Shining Eyes

All cat owners will have noticed at least once when meeting their cat in the middle of the night that its eyes are bright, to the point that it seems that these eyes belong to a monster hidden in the dark. But don’t panic, those eyes are just your feline friend’s. Indeed, the rods we were talking about earlier are not the only ones that line the cat’s retina. A membrane called tapetum lucidum, which literally means “carpet of light”, also lines the retina of cats. This membrane is made up of fifteen layers of cells, and reflects light like a mirror.

See also  Can we raise as many cats as we want at home?

It is also because of this membrane that, during the period of witch hunts in France, cats were captured to be burned alive, thinking that they were in fact demons. This incredible display of human stupidity unfortunately led to the infamous Black Death epidemic.

We humans are devoid of this famous membrane. According to numerous studies, it would only be present on animals that need to find their bearings in the middle of the night, either to hunt or, on the contrary, to defend themselves. This membrane is thus found on dogs, cats, horses, ferrets, deer and bovids.

The Cat And Life In Color

For many years, it was thought that the cat, just like the dog for that matter, was not able to perceive colors, and therefore saw life in black and white. However, recent studies have now proven that cats are finally able to perceive colors.

Their vision is still closer to that of a colorblind human though, as the colors that cats are receptive to tend to revolve around blue and green. Thus, cats are unable to perceive the color red.

The Pupil Of The Cat According To Its Moods

You may have noticed it while playing with your cat, his pupils are able to change shapes according to his moods. Thus, you will be able to notice that when he is excited in front of a toy which is agitated in front of him, or when he hunts a fly which flies around him, his pupils are extremely dilated.

See also  Cooling down your cat during periods of high heat: 8 tips and tricks

It is a natural hunting reflex, its pupils dilate so that its rods can capture as much light as possible, and thus have the best possible vision to catch its prey.

Conversely, when a cat is afraid or feels threatened, its pupils will contract naturally so that its reflective membrane only captures a minimum of light, and thus ensure that its eyes shine as little as possible, so as not to be spotted by a potential predator.

You now know what are the particularities of these incredible and fascinating tools that our feline friends have. You will have been able to see that they are born predators, and that even their eyes are adapted so that they can catch their prey, including in the middle of the night.

Similar Posts