Cats are incredible animals with many unique features, but perhaps a favorite of many cat owners is their eyes. Cats have big, beautiful eyes that are as functional as they are breathtaking. However, they are still very different from our own eyes and have their own distinctive features.
#1 – Low-Light Vision
Cats can’t see in complete darkness, but they can see very well in low light. In fact, they only need about 1/6th of the light we do to see clearly. Eyes are made of rods and cones that determine how well an animal (or human) can see. Rods allow for low-light vision and cats have many more rods than we do. Have you ever noticed how your cat’s eyes reflect in the light? This is due to the tapetum lucidum, which allows light to be reflected back into the eyes – creating a brighter picture for cats in lower lighting.
#2 – Less Detail
Cats see best at a distance of two to three feet away, mostly because of the amount of rods in their eyes. They do not see detail like we do, such as leaves on trees or writing on a page, but they are better at seeing quickly moving objects than we are. This is probably because all of their prey is fast-moving, such as mice and birds, and they’ve evolved to be able to see these things easily.
#3 – Elliptical Pupils
Elliptical pupils, or the classic “cat eye,” aren’t just there for decoration. This shape pupil is able to change shape much more quickly than our round eyes, which means your cat isn’t going to have such a long adjustment period to a change in lighting. When you turn the lights on in the morning and it blinds your eyes, your cat is well-equipped to avoid the discomfort. They’re also able to adjust to low lighting just as quickly.
Your cat’s eyes are still a source of much mystery. We don’t have a big idea on how much color they’re able to see or why the eyes change so much in regard to a cat’s emotional state. What we do know is that cats are pretty awesome animals that we still have a lot to learn about. Luckily we get to spend time with them and make our own observations about these fantastic felines!