For the longest time, many people wondered can cats see color, and for quite some time, we assumed that cats can only distinguish colors in gray tones. However, recent animal studies shows that can distinguish more colors that what we thought, such as red, green, yellow and blue. Though colors don’t play a big role in cat’s life, a cat’s eye can orient itself to dark and light. Cats are not colorblind, but their ability to see colors is not as developed as ours. But they can definitely see some colors.
Domestic cat’s eye, like big and wild cats, is unique and highly powerful than from other animals. These special abilities of their eyes, which may have developed for survival, allow cats to move freely at night.
Cat’s eye works like a camera. In bright sunshine, their pupil contacts, at dusk they expand and catch even the smallest glimpse of light. This characteristic of their eyes allows them to see six times better than humans do. Another great thing about cat’s eye is that, they seem to “hear” things through their eyes. This is because their eyes have unique nerve cells that directly transmit the sound to the brain that their ears can no longer perceive. This characteristic allows even blind cats to catch flies.
So how can cats like American Wirehair see color? Cats are nocturnal animals, and their eyes are far better than hours at night. However, thought they can see clearly with only about one-sixth of illumination we need to see, cats can never see in total darkness. This is because their iris has eye muscles that can narrow its vision to a vertical slit from bright light to an open and in very dim light, and even to in a maximum illumination.
In addition, their eyes also have a reflective layer located at their retina. This is called the tapetum, and it reflects incoming lights, then bounces the light back to the cones, making the eyes use more of the existing light. This tapetum may also be responsible for cat’s ability to see shiny green orbs.
Cats however, cannot see directly the things under their noses. If you don’t believe that, try offering your cat a treat like Pounce. Your cat can definitely smell it, but if you drop it under its nose, it will take time to find it.
If a perfect human vision is 20/20, a cat’s normal vision is at 20/100. This means cats can see things from afar very clearly, but things near them appear blurred and fuzzy. That’s exactly the reason why they do sniff test when greeting fellow cats and humans.