What Colours Can Cats See?

yellow cat eyes

There are some misconceptions about how cats see the world.

If you have your own feline, you might be surprised to learn what their vision is really like.

Basics of the Feline Eye

Cats have a transparent cornea located in the front part of their eye. Light passes through the cornea and goes through a gel type substance, eventually reaching the retina. 

The rods and cones that make up the retina become stimulated when light hits them. These receptors send a message to the brain that these animals interpret as vision.

Cats have particularly developed rods within their retinas, which allow them to see very clearly at night. In fact, they have nearly ten times the number of rod cells of the average person.

The cones are the receptors in the eye that are associated with color and sharpness. This is where a cat’s vision falls short of a human’s.

colored cat eyes

There is also the tapetum, which alters light wavelengths in such a way that it makes it easy for these animals to see prey at night. This is just one of the many ways that a cat’s vision is fine-tuned for hunting. 

They are far better at seeing movement in the dark than we are, especially from a distance. This is why your kitty has no problem spotting a mouse that is darting across your kitchen in the middle of the night.

The average cat has a 200 degree field of vision, which allows them to see more of the world at any given time than humans. They also have a different depth of dimension than we do.

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Color Detection

Cats have a very small number of cones in their eyes when compared to humans. This means that they aren’t able to see nearly as many colors.

Humans can also detect movement in bright light much better than felines for this reason.

Many animal experts are of the mind that cats see mostly in grays and blues. There are, however, others who believe that these animals see the world in a way that is similar to dogs. The fact is that we’ll probably never really know what a cat’s vision looks like, but we can make educated guesses.

A cat’s eyes are not as good at detecting changes in brightness levels. This means that these animals don’t see colors as vibrantly as we do; they are duller and more toned down.

These animals are unable to see a number of colors, including brown, red, and orange. Objects that have a red coloration to us probably look somewhat green to them.

cat eyes

Despite what some people believe, cats do not see in black and white. This is also a common misconception about dogs. The truth is that both of these animals can see colors, but they are more muted than how we see them.

One of the most interesting things about a cat’s vision is that it can actually detect ultraviolet light, which we cannot see. This basically means that they can actually see shades of color that we are incapable of picking up on.

While cats cannot see more colors than humans, they can see certain shades that are invisible to us. This ability to detect UV light lets these animals see things like the prints of prey animals, which can be very useful when hunting.

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Cats are Far-Sighted

We do know that cats don’t have the ability to see things with as much clarity and detail up close as humans. This means that these animals are far-sighted, which is the case with some people. This is because cats don’t have the muscles that are needed to alter the shape of their ocular lenses.

Keeping Your Cat’s Vision Sharp

While there is no way to truly improve your cat’s vision, there are some thing you can do to keep it as sharp as possible.

  • Use a laser pointer: Shining a laser pointer device and moving it around the room will keep your cat on top of its hunting game. It is also a great source of comedy and entertainment for you.
  • Videos: There are certain videos that you can play for your cat that will actually stimulate its vision and hearing. Try playing nature videos with plenty of movement and animal noises. There is a good chance that your cat will watch the video intently, at least for a while.
  • Puzzle toys: Getting your cat a puzzle toy and packing it with treats or food can also help to keep its hunting instincts sharp.


Cats have very sensitive eyes, which accounts for their incredible ability to detect movement in low light situations. These animals don’t need to lubricate their eyes with blinking as people do though.

Glow in the Dark Eyes?

You have probably noticed that a cat’s eye tends to glow in the dark, especially when you take a picture of one in low light. No, it’s not that your cat is possessed by a demonic spirit.

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 The flash from the camera reflects the light produced by their “mirror cells”. This gives you the impression that their eyes are shining.


  • Cats can see colors but not the same way that we do.
  • These animals are better at seeing things far away than up close.
  • The visual acuity of the average cat is specially designed for hunting at prey, particularly at night.
  • Cats are capable of seeing ultraviolet light, which is completely invisible to all humans.
  • It is a common misconception that cats as well as dogs are colorblind or see the world in black and white.
  • The 200-degree field of vision that a cat has is another part of its biological makeup that is useful for hunting.
  • Cats are very skilled at seeing movement in the dark, which can make catching their prey a lot easier.
  • If you want to keep your cat’s vision sharp, try moving a laser pointer around the room for a while.