What Colors Do Cats Like (Or Are They Color Blind?)

Have you ever wondered if cats see the world in black and white? It’s a popular belief, but let’s uncover the truth together. In this document, we’ll explore the fascinating realm of feline vision and challenge the notion of cats being color blind.

Prepare for an enlightening journey as we dive into the colors they perceive and the ones that evoke certain emotions in our furry friends. Cat owners get ready to see the world through a cat’s eyes in a whole new way!

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Are Cats Color Blind?  

Did you know that contrary to popular belief, cats are not entirely color-blind? It’s a common misconception that they see the world in black and white.

Cats have dichromatic vision, similar to humans with red-green color blindness. So, they do perceive colors, just in different ways. 

A cat with green eyes looking at the camera

Although their color perception may not be as vibrant or diverse as ours, it’s more nuanced than just seeing in black and white.

Their dichromatic vision allows them to discern specific colors and shades, although not to the same extent as human eyes. 

So, here’s the thing: labeling cats as color blind is oversimplifying their visual abilities. But don’t worry, we’ll dive into some intriguing details about the colors cats can and can’t distinguish. 

What Colors Do Cats See? 

There are a few things to know when you are learning about how your cat sees the world:

Cats are Nearsighted

Cats, compared to humans, are considerably nearsighted. But what does this mean in terms of color perception? This nearsightedness or myopia means that objects far away appear blurry to them. 

While cats excel in detecting swift and slight movements even in dim light – a skill inherited from their wild ancestors for hunting purposes – the cat’s ability to discern details and different colors of distant objects is limited.

Hence, the color of a far-off bird or toy may not be as vibrant to our furry friend as it would be to us. However, up close, their color perception significantly improves. 

If you want to engage your cat with colorful toys or activities, ensure they’re close enough to ignite their color-detecting capabilities fully!

Cats Don’t See The Way We Do

While humans and cats share some common aspects regarding vision, several key differences exist. Understanding these can help us appreciate the unique way our feline companions perceive their surroundings:

  • Color Spectrum: Humans can see a wide range of colors, from red to violet, thanks to having three types of color receptors in our eyes. Conversely, cats have only two kinds of color receptors, limiting their color vision to blue hues and yellows.
  • Visual Acuity: Humans have 20/20 vision – a term that denotes normal acuity or sharpness of vision. In contrast, cats have an estimated visual understanding of 20/100 to 20/200, meaning details that humans can see clearly from 100 or 200 feet away; cats need to be 20 feet away to see with the same depth perception.
  • Field of View: Cats have a wider field of view than humans – approximately 200 degrees compared to our 180 degrees. This peripheral vision helps them spot potential prey or predators more effectively.

Cats Have Excellent Night Vision

Have you ever noticed how your cat navigates effortlessly in dim light, almost as if they have a built-in night vision mode? This isn’t just your imagination playing tricks on you – it’s a testament to the remarkable capabilities of a cat’s vision system!

Ginger and white cat with wide iris looking at something

As natural hunters, cats are designed to see well in low-light conditions. This incredible characteristic can be attributed to the tapetum lucidum, a cell layer in a cat’s eyes.

This layer acts as a mirror, reflecting any light that passes through the retina back into the eye, thereby increasing the amount of light available to the photoreceptors.

This gives cats distinctive eye-glow in the dark and allows them to see almost six times better than humans at night!

Cats also have a higher proportion of rod cells in their retinas. Rod cells are photoreceptors responsible for detecting light and dark changes, shape, and movement, and, most importantly, they are susceptible to light levels.

In contrast, humans have more cone cells responsible for distinguishing colors and fine details but don’t function well in low light. This higher number of rod cells gives cats the upper hand regarding better vision at night.

However, this doesn’t mean cats can see in complete darkness – they still need a bit of light to make out shapes and movements. But with even a sliver of moonlight, your cat becomes a masterful night navigator.

So, while we may fumble around trying to find the light switch, our feline companions could be having the time of their lives in what we perceive as darkness.

It’s another testament to the intriguing world of cats – and how much we humans have yet to learn about these incredible creatures!

Cats Only See Hues and Shades of Green and Blue

Did you know that your feline friends have a better perception of blues and greens? That’s right! Cats’ eyes contain two types of photoreceptor cells: rods and cones.

Rods detect light and dark, while cones help perceive colors. Cats have fewer cones than humans, but the types of cones they do have are most sensitive to shades of blues and greens.

So, your cat isn’t just ignoring that red toy you bought; it’s just not as visually stimulating for them! You might have better luck catching their attention with a toy in a bluish or greenish hue.

Isn’t that a fun fact to consider next time you shop for cat toys?

Blue, Purple, and Green are Calming Colors for Cats

When creating an environment comforting for your feline friend, color plays a more significant role than you might think. Cats are calmed by cool colors like blue, purple, and green. 

Why, you ask? Remember the bit about cats being most sensitive to blues and greens? That’s part of the reason. These colors fall within their visual spectrum, making them perceive and respond to them more positively. 

Toys, beds, and even walls in these hues can create a serene, peaceful atmosphere that cats find soothing.

So, if you’re considering a redecoration or buying new toys or bedding for your cat, opting for purple, green, and blue toys could be a great way to cater to your cat’s visual preferences and keep them relaxed and happy! 

Black cat playing with a feather toy

What do Colors Do Cats Hate?

While it’s inaccurate to say cats “hate” any particular color, it’s important to note that they do not perceive red and its variations as human vision does.

Scientific research suggests that cats probably see the red spectrum as more of a muted, washed-out green or gray. This is because cats’ eyes contain fewer cone cells receptive to red light. 

Therefore, if you’ve ever noticed your kitty’s indifference to a bright red toy, it’s not out of displeasure or “hatred” for the color. Instead, the toy might not stand out to them as much due to their unique color perception. 

Nonetheless, it’s always essential to remember that every cat has their quirks and preferences. So, even with these scientific insights, your feline friend might surprise you!

How Do You Tell What Colors Your Cat Likes?

Observing your cat’s behavior can give you clues about their color preferences. For instance, you might notice that your cat seems more attracted to toys, bedding, or furniture of specific colors. 

Does your cat have a favorite toy or blanket they always gravitate towards? Take note of the color! Additionally, experiment with different colored toys during playtime and see which ones catch your cat’s attention the most. 

Another way to gauge their favorite color is by using different colored lights during their active hours and observing their reactions. Remember, this is not an exact science and individual preferences can vary greatly. 

Final Thoughts on What Colors Do Cats Like?

As seen through a cat’s eyes, the world differs from our human perspective. Their unique visual abilities, honed by nature for nocturnal hunting, allow them to navigate the dimmest environments easily.

While not as vibrant or diverse as ours, their color perception is finely attuned to their needs. They favor the blues and greens they can see well and are soothed by cool, calming shades of these specific colors.

Though they may not perceive the fiery reds, bright pinks, and other bright colors the way we do, they find their delights in the muted tones they discern. 

So next time you choose a toy, a bed, or even considering a fresh coat of paint on the wall, remember to think like your cat! Remember, understanding their world helps us improve theirs – and isn’t that what we, as pet parents, strive for?

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