Can Cats See Color?

Cats are born hunters and their senses are ideal when stalking prey out in the wild.

But how does a cat’s vision compare to that of a human? Do they see colors as we do? It can be tricky to find this information out and many of us find ourselves wondering about our cats and what they can see. 

Well, wonder no more! Today we will take a look at how cats see the world.

Do Cats See Colors?

Cats have been around for over 40 million years, but it wasn’t until the mid-1800s that scientists began studying them. In 1869, Scottish scientist James Herrick discovered that cats could distinguish between black and white stripes on a wall.

Since then, researchers have found that cats can also tell the difference between red, blue, yellow, green, brown, gray, and orange.

So, the first thing to know about cats is that they can indeed see colors. They can distinguish between reds, blues, greens, oranges, yellows, purples, pinks, browns, and whites.

This means that when you put out a bowl of water colored blue, your cat will drink from it.

She doesn’t need to see the actual color of the water; she just needs to see something blue. But this doesn’t mean that your cat sees everything as being “blue.”

For example, if you were to take a white sheet of paper and draw a circle on it using a black marker, your cat would still see the circle as having a distinct shape. It wouldn’t look like a blob of ink.

Your cat also has trouble seeing things that are too close together.

So if you had two bowls of different-colored water next to each other, your cat might choose one over the other because she couldn’t tell which was which.

Why Do Cats See Some Colors?

There are three types of cones in the eyes of most mammals: long-, medium-, and short-wavelength (or L-, M-, and S-) cones.

These cones are sensitive to the different light wavelengths ranging from violet to yellowish-green.

Long-wavelength cones are best suited to detecting dimmer colors such as those found in shades of gray and brown.

Medium-wavelength cones are better at picking up brighter colors, including blues, greens, and reds. Short-wavelength cones are used for detecting ultraviolet light.

Most animals, including humans, have both long- and medium-wavelength cones. But we have longer- than medium-wavelength cones, which makes us able to see colors more accurately than most other creatures.

In comparison, most cats have four types of cone cells, but they usually have fewer than five. This means that they can detect less detail than dogs and many other animals.

How Does A Cat’s Vision Compare To Human Vision?

Humans have two sets of eyes, which is called binocular vision. Binocular vision means that we can view things using both eyes.

Each eye contains two lenses. The front lens focuses images onto the retina. The rear lens refracts them. Each eye receives half of the total visual information.

Human eyes are very good at detecting movement. They can detect movement as small as one ten-thousandth of a degree.

Human eyes are also very good at distinguishing between colors. We can distinguish up to 10 million shades of gray.

Our eyes are less accurate at determining distances. We can only judge distances within a range of 30 feet.

In comparison, a cat’s eyes are better at detecting movement than ours are. This is because cats have extra rods in their retinas.

Rod cells are responsible for night vision. They allow a cat to see well in dim lighting conditions.

A cat’s eyes are also sensitive enough to detect color differences. However, our eyes are much better at this task. The human eye is also capable of seeing ultraviolet (UV) light. In contrast, cats cannot see UV light.

Why Do Cats See What They See?

As we have seen already, cats have all the necessary equipment to be successful hunters out in the wild.

They can see in dim light and they pick up the smallest movements in thick undergrowth at a great distance. All these abilities help the cat to either hunt or judge a situation as too dangerous and then escape.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get your last-minute questions answered here! 

What Colors Can Cats See Best?

Cats can see some colors better than others. It’s believed that they can see blue and violet hues, green and yellow shades are also easy for our feline friends to detect.

What Colors Can A Cat Not See?

It seems that there are certain colors a cat can not see. For example, they seem unable to see the colors orange and red.

This may be because they don’t have any rod cells in their eyes. Rod cells are needed to perceive bright lights.

Do Cats See Humans As Cats?

While we cannot prove it for certain, cats likely see humans as clumsy, large fellow cats.

There are also other opinions out there that believe that they see humans as potential prey.

Are Cats Smarter Than Dogs?

While there are no scientific studies on how smart cats are compared to dogs, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence.

Most pet owners agree that cats are smarter than dogs. Dogs tend to follow commands easily while cats are often stubborn.

While dogs are loyal to their masters, cats are independent. 

Do Cats Care About Colors?

Cats have more cones than rods in their retinas, so they can see color. However, they don’t care about colors as much as we do.

When you play with your cat, try not to use bright colors. If you want to get your cat interested in something, make sure it has a variety of textures.

Do Cats Have Favorite Humans?

Yes! There are many stories out there where people claim that their cats love them back. However, most experts say that cats don’t like us. Instead, they just appreciate our company.


Cats have evolved with their environment and have adapted to it. Their senses are highly developed.

They use these senses to navigate through their world. They can do so by using their whiskers, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and sight.

Their ability to adapt to their surroundings has helped them survive for millions of years, and it made them one of the most popular pets around the world.

Courtney Trent
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