How do cats see?

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For the most part cats, who have binocular vision, see about as well as humans, but their vision is not quite as fine-tuned. Certainly they can detect the three dimensions because they are very good at judging distances and spatial relationships, but primarily a cat’s eyes are designed to detect motion.

Felines are somewhat near-sighted, with sharper vision up close, although they can detect movement at a considerable distance. They can see colors, but they are better in the green and blue range and less so in the brown to red shades.

A cat cannot see in complete darkness any more than a human can, but he will do extremely well in low light. Cats are crepuscular, not nocturnal, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. Their eyes are evolved for maximum performance in these lighting conditions.

In truth, cats rely on all of their senses working together to interpret the sensory input of the world. They have extremely acute hearing and can locate prey by sound more than sight. Their sense of smell is highly evolved, and they even have an extra set of “nostrils,” Jacobson’s organ, in the roof of the mouth that allows them to taste smells.

All of these abilities, in combination, make your cat a walking sensor bank, and very little escapes his attention. Even when a cat is sound asleep, his ears are scanning. If you don’t believe it, just whisper his name and watch his eyes open in instant awareness.

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