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can cats see color

Health & Wellness

Can cats see color?

Our best friends don’t see what we see

When you buy your cat a new toy, do you pick the most colorful option? Maybe you look for something with a bit of sparkle, too, hoping it’ll entice them to play. Learning more about how cats perceive color and light could better inform your next purchase. Dr. Aliya McCullough, veterinarian and pet health advocate, has the scoop on what cats see.

Are cats color-blind? 

No, cats aren’t generally color-blind — they have three light receptors in the back of their eyes, called cones, that help them differentiate between colors. People have cones, too, but they don’t translate color the same way cats’ cones do. 

What colors can cats see?

Cats seem to have poorer color vision than people — they mostly see shades of blue and yellow. 

What are colors that cats can’t see? 

Many researchers believe that cats can see changes in brightness instead of color. Reds and pinks tend to blur greenish, and purples are believed to appear as a shade of blue.

How do cats see humans?

Cats see fewer details than people do, and they don’t see red or green colors, either, so they probably won’t be as enthusiastic about your holiday sweater. 

Can cats see in the dark?

What cats lack in cones, they make up for in rods, which are special cells in the retina that allow for night and peripheral vision. To sum it up, people see more colors while cats see the world a bit wider and clearer — especially in low-light conditions.

How far can cats see?

Cats can’t see as far in the distance as people and dogs, so they may need to be closer to you to make out the details of your face (not that we’re complaining!). 

The truth is, there is no need to debate over the color of your next cat toy purchase — shades of yellow and blue are probably your best bet. Either way, your best friend will be thrilled to play with you no matter what you bring home. 

The Dig, Fetch Pet Insurance's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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