Since there is really no way to communicate with a cat, it’s quite difficult to determine what they are able to see. The only way that we can really describe the way a cat can see is to use modern science as a hitch and examine the eye. While in most cases, cat owners believe that their cat can clearly see them- and can see them in color- the truth is that the cat was not made this way.
We can use modern medical science to learn more information than we ever could before that can tell us what cats can see and why they are only able to see a limited amount of color.
Science of a Cat’s Eye
When it comes to the eye, the main component that is responsible for differentiating colors is the retina. This is an outlet of nerves containing cells known as rods and cones. The cones take in light and turns an image to color. The message will then be sent to the brain, where the concept of color is realized. On the other hand, the rods pull in light through the eye and contrast an image into black and white.
The theory that cats can see color is related to the number of cones and rods that are in their retinas. However, recently, modern science has been able to point out that there is a much higher concentration of rods than cones in the retinas of cats. Therefore, since cats do have some cones in their retina, they can see some color. However, due to the fact that only 20 percent of the cells in a cat’s retina are cones, that leaves 80 percent as rods, which means that while they can see color, they are not really able to differentiate between one color and another.
Why are Cat’s Eyes Important?
When we look back into history as far back as we can trace the cat, they have always been known as hunters. They were able to live and survive in the wilderness by doing their hunting at night and keeping themselves concealed during the daytime. This means that their eyes were a very important asset because they were able to see much better at night, which was critical in order for them to survive.
One of the things you must understand is that a cat’s ability to differentiate colors was never really necessary in order for a cat to survive. In a dark, wooded forest, a cat really didn’t need color. The only thing that was really necessary in order to be a successful hunter was bright contrasts.
As a pet owner, you may wonder if your pet can see colors. As far as cats go, they can see some colors, but not clearly. They can see bright contrasts- but due to the lower concentration of cones versus rods- they are really better able to see in shades of black/white than they are specific colors.