Do cats see black and white?

Don’t put too much effort in choosing a colored toy for your pet cat. Cats do not have color perception…all these animals see is black and white. For years it was believed that cats see in black and white. However, recent studies have shown that cats have color vision. Cats can see other colors…not just black and white.

It was once believed that cats see in black and white. Cats have ultrasensitive senses and their eyesight is considered as one of the strongest. Cats can see in almost total darkness. Even with very low illumination these predators can pounce and instantly catch a prey. These adept predators though have no use for color. Cats do not really care if the bird it is trying to catch has a brilliant blue and yellow plumage or that squeaking mouse has a drab gray coat. The sounds and the movements the prey makes would be more important for Hunter Cat. Cats do not see in black and white. Cats have color vision but these feline friends are considered color blind.

Cats can see color because just like human eyes, the eyes of cats have retinas. Retina is the light sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. Retina contains cones and rods. Cones are the cells that convert light into color. Rods functions in less intense light and therefore has the function of converting black and white. The eyes use the rods to see in dim light and to see sudden movements. Cats are night time hunters and Nature has gifted them with eyes that have more rods. This kind of eye structure allows cats to see better in dim lights. Cats only need 1/6 of the illumination humans need to see. Because cat’s eyes have some cones, color perception is also possible. Cats though may not be able to distinguish color just like we humans do. Your kitty would not see color the way you do. Human eyes have three types of photoreceptor cells thus we can see all the colors of the rainbow and perceive the intensity of colors as well. Cats do not see only black and white….cats can see colors but they are considered color blind. Cats can perceive the different shades of blue and green but they cannot see the other colors because they only have two cones. Cats do not have the photoreceptors that correspond to the red color thus your cat may not be able to distinguish which of the balls you brought is red and which is green.

Color though is not very important to cats. These nocturnal hunters are perfectly satisfied with the kind of vision they have… and that is to have better vision even in almost total darkness. Cats may not have the cone necessary to allow them to see the color red but the capability of their pupils to contract to prevent bright light from entering the eye or to dilate to allow more light to enter the eyes more than compensate for their inability to see colors as we humans do.