Cat eyesight

Over the ages, the evolution of every species has provided its individuals with sufficient means to survive adequately in the environment.

Domestic cats have gone from living in the harsh reality of nature to the warmth of the hearth, from stalking and pursuing prey to expecting to be fed. But despite this radical change of lifestyle cats have maintained tremendously specialized senses. The most important sense in their daily interaction with the environment, other cats and human beings is their eyesight.

Small kittens are born blind and deaf. These transitory deficiencies are compensated by the excellent sense of smell they are born with. When they are approximately ten days old their visual deficiency starts to be left behind as they open their eyes. They are still not capable of seeing well, and it will take them some time to develop their acute eyesight.

Although for a long time it was believed that cats see only in black and white, now it seems sure that they are able to identify colours, especially blue and green. Most researchers agree, though, that they are not especially interested in colours, but in the movement of objects.

One of the characteristics of cats’ excellent eyesight is that their eyes are placed in the front of their face, like humans. This affords them binocular vision, which permits them to calculate distances almost perfectly, as evidenced by their confident jumps.

Cats have 50% more night vision than humans, due to the photoreceptor cells in their eyes and pupils, which open up to three times wider than human pupils.

Another visual advantage that cats possess is that they are able to close their pupils vertically in bright light. This allows a very small light beam to enter the eye. Cats close their eyelids at the same time that they slit their pupils, and so protect their eyesight with one of the best solar filters available in nature. The problem is that they only see unfocused images when they look this way.

Did you know...

Hip dysplasia is most frequent among Saint Bernards and other dog breeds such as English Setters, Rottweilers, Botbtais or German Shepherds.

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