A Cat’s Eye View of the World: How Felines See Things Differently Than We Do

A Cat's Eye View of the World: How Felines See Things Differently Than We Do

To the average cat owner, it seems like their pet’s behavior doesn’t make sense sometimes—like why does your kitty run and hide when you turn on the kitchen faucet, but not when you run the hair dryer? Is there any way to understand what’s going on in their furry little brains? While we can’t exactly enter the mind of your average cat, there are some things we can understand about how felines see the world compared to humans.

What do you mean I have to eat it myself?

Cats can see about six times as well as humans. They are nearly three times more light-sensitive than humans too. This leads to cats seeing a world where the sun is, and isn’t, shining in the sky based on their surroundings, not where the sun is in relation to our location. It also means they can see many colors that are outside the human spectrum, which would include shades of green and blue that humans can’t see. In general, cats can do better than us with very low-light or black-and-white conditions. Cats don’t depend on sight as we do; they mainly depend on smell so their world might seem very dark if they were blindfolded because everything depends on how well you could smell it instead of how well you could see it!

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What’s that strange thing on your head?

One big difference in how cats see the world is that they perceive depth differently. Humans have a binocular vision which means we use two eyes to judge the distance to an object, but cats only have monocular vision, so they judge distances using just one eye. To understand how this impacts a cat’s perception of the world, consider for a moment the following images.

The first image shows what humans see when looking at a kitten who is sitting on the ground in front of them and staring back.

The second image shows what that same kitten would see in relation to its head. If a cat looked at you in a similar way, it would only be able to see a small portion of your face, with your forehead and nose appearing particularly large from its vantage point. This is why cats seem so curious about human noses and mouths – we look strange to them!

Why do you carry it everywhere with you?

Ever since I adopted a cat, I’ve taken to carrying around a camera and taking pictures of her from different angles. And it turns out that the world looks vastly different from a feline perspective! Cats see the world differently than humans because they are more likely to hunt in dim light, so they need color vision but not visual acuity. To see things like night predators (and objects as small as prey), cats rely on large peripheral eyes, so their pupils are slits instead of circles. For good luck, you’ll find lots of videos capturing cats checking out various objects like food bowls or plants. My favorite thing about my cat’s eye view is that she can see everything around her while laying down… no propping herself up to look over something!

One thing to note is that cats are very intelligent animals, but they are designed primarily for hunting. This means they don’t need or use all their senses in equal ways compared to us. For example, a cat’s sense of smell is often only used to identify other cats and prey… which actually accounts for roughly 80% of a cat’s brain! The good news is that while we might not be able to smell things as well as our feline companions, we do have superior eyesight, which helps us better interpret what we see by identifying colors and shapes. It also helps us see at night… unfortunately felines can’t seem to do that.

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And what are those round things in my bowl?

Cats have a number of adaptations that humans lack. Their pupils are shaped like a vertical slit to allow more light to enter, and they have the highest density of rod cells in their eyes compared to any other animal. Cats see up to sixteen times better than humans in dim light, but you may be wondering what those round things are in your cat’s bowl…is it food? Nail clippings? The tiniest mouse on the planet? Here we will explore how cats see the world differently than humans do.

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