How cats see the world compared to the human eye (photo)

Ihor Romanko

How cats see the world compared to humans

Artist Nicolai Lamm approached three animal experts over a decade ago to create a hypothesis and visually show how cats see the world compared to humans.

Read also: Do cats understand human language?

The main difference between human and cat vision is the retina, a layer of tissue at the back of the eye that contains photoreceptors. Photoreceptors convert light rays into electrical signals that nerve cells process, transmit to the brain, and convert into an image that we perceive.

Photoreceptor cells are divided into rods and cones. Ropes are responsible for peripheral and night vision, they determine brightness and shades of gray. Cones are responsible for daytime vision and color perception.

Both cats and dogs have a high concentration of rod receptors and a low concentration of cone receptors. In humans, it is the other way around, which explains our poorer night vision but better color perception.

Nikolai Lamm wanted to give people the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of their pets. The following pictures show the human gaze from above and the cat's gaze from below.

Visual field

The visual field is the area you can see when your eyes are focused on a single point. It includes what can be seen directly in front of you, as well as above, below, and to the side. Cats have a slightly wider field of view, covering 200 degrees, compared to the average human field of view, which is 180 degrees.


Visual acuity

Visual acuity determines the clarity of vision. The average human has a visual acuity of 20/20. A cat's visual acuity ranges from 20/100 to 20/200, which means that a cat must be 20 feet (6 meters) away to see what a human can see at 100 feet (30 meters) or 200 feet (60 meters). This explains the blurriness of the bottom image.


Color vision

Cats don't see colors the way humans do. Humans are called trichromats, meaning they have three types of cones that allow them to see red, green, and blue. Cats are also considered trichromats, but not in the same way as humans. Cat vision is similar to that of a colorblind person.


Cats see the world in shades of gray, blue, and green. Their pupils are able to change their size, which helps them adapt to changes in lighting and quickly switch from day to night vision.


Read also: Why cats react to the sound of "psst": the answer of scientists

Depth of vision

Cats have better depth of vision than humans. This means they can see the movements and shapes of objects better than humans. This is useful for hunting mice and other small animals. Experts believe that cats are myopic, meaning they also cannot see distant objects. However, their ability to see close objects is good for hunting and capturing prey.

Cats have wide pupils that help them see objects from a wider angle, which provides them with better peripheral vision. In addition, their pupils can change their size quickly, which helps them adapt to changes in lighting.


Night vision

Cats cannot see fine detail or saturated colors, but they have a remarkable ability to see in the dark because of the large number of rods in their retinas that are sensitive to low light. As a result, cats can see using about one-sixth the amount of light that humans need.

Cats also have a structure behind the retina called the tapetum that is thought to improve night vision. The cells in the tapetum act like a mirror, reflecting light passing between the rods and cones back to the photoreceptors, giving them another chance to collect the small amount of light available at night. This is what makes a cat's eyes glow in the dark.


Earlier, we wrote about what dogs think when they bow their heads.

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