12 Facts That You Didn’t Know About Cat Eyes

Cats have an incredible reflex that enables them to survive falls from up to 60 feet high.

A cat named Andy was even recorded to have fallen from a height of 200 feet and survived, proving that cats indeed have nine lives.

Those were just a few fun facts before proceeding to our main topic about cat eyes.

Cat Eyes Facts

When it comes to cat eyes, the topic alone deserves a whole article of its own.

Here are 12 facts that you probably didn’t know about cat eyes.

Cat's eyes and face

1. Cats cannot see in total darkness

Contrary to popular belief, cats do not see in total darkness. Most experts consider cats to be crepuscular creatures, most active at dawn and dusk, but they are able to function in much lower light that many creatures. Since their eyes are designed to adjust to the amount of light, they can definitely see better in the dark than humans and dogs do. This is mostly thanks to their tapetum lucidum, a reflective layer at the back of the eye that enhances available light, and the fact that their eyes have a higher rod-to-cone ratio, which means cats only need about 15 percent of the light that humans need to see.

For this reason, it is believed that cats can see up to eight times better than humans.

2. Their pupils change shape to protect their eyes

You may notice that your cat’s pupils may change shape from time to time. mentioned above, their eyes do this in order to adjust to the amount of light present in an environment. This is similar to how humans’ and dogs’ pupils change shape, but much faster.

Their pupils can go from a wide plate-round shape indicating minimal light, to a thin vertical slit when plenty of light is present. Aside from controlling the amount of light that is reflected in the eyes, the shape-changing also protects against eye damage caused by too much light.

cute adorable kitten with blue eyes

3. Cats are not exactly color blind

Most people think cats are color blind and while this may be true to some extent, they just don’t process color as well as humans do. This is mostly because they have fewer cones in their eyes. To be specific, cats are dichromats which means that their eyes only have two types of cones that enable color reception. These colors are mostly for blue and green, but none for red. There is some evidence that indicates three types of cones in cats making them trichromats, but this information is yet to be proven.

Cats do not see the world in black and white but rather, their color reception is muted compared to that of humans.

4. Cat’s eyes show their emotions

If you are unsure as to what your cat is feeling, the best way to determine their emotions is to check their eyes. When their pupils are widened, it means your cat is feeling heightened emotions, such as excitement or even fear. Narrowed pupils may mean your cat may be a little bit too cranky.

Cat's eyes zoomed

5. All cats are born with blue eyes

When cats are born, they all have blue eyes. The reason for this is that melanin, which is responsible for color, has not yet begun production in the eyes. It may take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months before a cat’s actual eye color starts to surface.

Since blue is indicative of the absence of melanin, every blue-eyed cat does not have melanin in their eyes.

6. Almost all white cats have blue eyes

Now, this may not be true for all cats with white fur but more often than not, they mostly have blue eyes. It is rare for white cats to have different eye colors aside from blue, because the gene responsible for their white fur or rather the lack of color- is so dominant that it represses all the other genes that dictate the color, including those for the eyes.

7. Cat eyes may indicate deafness

This only applies to white cats with blue eyes. Usually, the combination of white fur and blue eyes can result in deafness, which is caused by a rare genetic defect. For white cats with different colored eyes, the side with blue eyes may indicate deafness for the ear in that direction.

8. Cats can have different colored eyes

You may notice that some cats will have two different-colored eyes. This is a condition called heterochromia and does not affect the overall condition of the eyes or the cat’s own health in any way.

Humans can also have this condition such as Kate Bosworth, Dominic Sherwood, and Mila Kunis.

turquoise blue eyes of norwegian forest cat

9. Cats’ eyes can glow in photographs

When you take a photograph with your cat, you may notice that its eyes have an eerie glow to them. You don’t have to worry about your cat being possessed- the reason for their glow is due to the refractive mirror-like cells behind the retina known as tapetum lucidum.

These are responsible for the cat’s ability to make incredible use of minimal light and is why your cat sees better than you in the dark.

When your camera flashes, these cells reflect the light back, making them look like they’re glowing.

10. Cats see rapid movement better than dogs

One of the big differences between cat and dog vision is that cats have less peripheral vision due to the shape of their pupils. This can prove advantageous for cats- they only have to rely on contrast and the varying degrees of brightness to see rapid movement, which can be important for survival.

Please note that there is a huge difference between how cats, dogs, and humans see the world. On the downside, cats see less detail compared to humans and dogs due to the fewer number of cones in their eyes. A higher amount of cones enables them to see best at a distance of two to three feet away from them.

11. Cats have a third eyelid

Another interesting fact about cats is that they have a third eyelid. It is not easily noticeable because it can be found between the other eyelids and the cornea. This eyelid provides added protection and also contains a gland at its base that produces extra tears.

12. Cats can see ultraviolet light

Cats may not see color as well as humans do, but they can definitely see way more than visible lights that people are limited to. A 2014 study has revealed that cats, as well as dogs and other mammals, could actually see ultraviolet light which is invisible to the human eye.

While it is still unknown what this ability does for cats, it may explain some odd behaviors or why they are such efficient hunters.

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