How Cats See the World


Research on feline vision has shed some new light on how differently cats see the world as compared to humans. A recent British study confirms that cats (and some other mammals) can perceive ultraviolet light. What does that mean for your cat? It may explain why you sometimes get the feeling that your cat is looking at something you just can’t see…because you can’t!


Ultraviolet vision capability can also mean that your cat may see more color differences than previously thought. This could be why cats are such good hunters, as ultraviolet variations between a prey animal and a similarly-colored background can make the prey stand out. On the flip side, cats’ vision is generally thought to be blurrier than ours, also a side effect of the ability to see ultraviolet light.

Graphic artist Nickolay Lamm consulted with animal vision experts to create a series of images illustrating a cat’s view of the world side by side with ours. The images show how a cat’s greater peripheral vision makes the world seem blurry to them, but also how their superior night vision illuminates what we see as darkness.

The differences between a cat’s eyes and ours explain why we have good day vision, with crisp resolution and bright colors (cats are thought to see more like color blind humans). Cats sacrifice color and clarity for superior night vision and a greater ability to pick up quick movements…both excellent qualities for life as a hunter, even if your cat is just chasing spiders around the house!

Cat and mouse