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Are Cats Color Blind? A Look Into How They See the World

Have you ever stopped to wonder if your cat sees colors in the same way that you do? If you’re looking at bright new toys for your furry friend, are some colors going to catch their attention more than others? Before we dive into the details, know that cats aren’t color blind and can see a range of colors. Unlike humans, though, they don’t see them as vibrantly, and they can’t see such a broad range of colors as we can.

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How Do Humans See Colors?

Both cats and humans rely on one type of specialist cell to see color. These cells are called cones and are located in the retina. There are three different types of cones used to detect the colors red, blue, and green. The large number of cones in the human eye means we can perceive a full range of colors.

How Do Cats See Colors?

In comparison to humans, cats have far fewer cones, meaning that while they can still perceive a range of colors, it’s not as extensive as what we may see. Scientists are undecided on exactly what colors that cats can actually see, though. Some suggest that they can see grays and blues, while others think that cats can also see yellow. Reds and pinks are least likely to be perceived by cats. It’s likely that these appear as greens. Purple also isn’t perceived that well by cats, and it’s thought that they see this color as more of a blue shade.

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Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

Rods in The Retina Also Matter

The other types of cells in the retina are rods. These are used for light and motion detection. Cats have more rods than us humans. This means their abilities to see in low-light conditions are far superior to ours. They’re also far better at noticing small movements.

Cats vs Humans

It’s thought that cats probably see different colors but possibly less vibrant versions compared to what we see. Cats don’t see the brightness of colors the same way that we do either, so they may see shades that we perceive differently as all the same tone.

In the wild, cats don’t need to see bright colors as much as they need to detect motion and see in low-light conditions. Their eyes are still adapted to hunting in arid desert areas with little variation in colors.

What color toys are best for cats?

You might be wondering how your cat’s ability to perceive colors will affect the color of toys that they may be attracted to. Cats will most likely be attracted to toys in blues and yellows. Red, pink, and purple toys are least likely to catch their attention.

What really matters, though, is if your cat enjoys playing with toys or not! Sometimes, it will be the movements and smells of their toys that attract them, rather than the colors.

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Image Credit: Lubava, Shutterstock

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Cats are not completely color blind, and they probably see colors similar to a human with red-green color blindness. Cats don’t perceive reds, pinks, or purples as well as we can. The colors that they can see best are blues, grays, and yellows.

Cats might not see all the colors of the rainbows, but they do see motion much better than we can. Their vision in low-light is also much better than ours. Your cat’s eyes are perfectly adapted for helping them do what they do best, which is hunting in low-light conditions.

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Featured Image Credit: Anna Azarenko, Shutterstock