Are Cats Color Blind?


Generally speaking, color blindness doesn’t mean total color blindness, which is a very serious issue that can make it impossible for people to see under either sunlight or some other source of bright light. Instead, color blindness tends to mean that someone is less able to see color or differences in color. Something that tends to be minor enough that affected individuals can adjust with minor difficulties. There isn’t a single cause for color blindness. The most common cause would be inheritance. Color blindness is more common in men than in women because the genes for the most common kinds of color blindness are on the X chromosome. As such, if a woman has such a defect in one of her two X chromosomes, it can be compensated for by the other. In contrast, if a man has such a defect in his X chromosome, well, suffice to say that is it. Besides this, it is also possible for someone to become color blind, whether because they have suffered some kind of injury to their eye or because they have suffered some kind of injury to their brain. Currently, there is no cure for any of the causes of color blindness, though there is still much that can be done to make it easier for affected individuals to adjust. In any case, the most common form of color blindness makes it impossible for affected individuals to distinguish between certain kinds of reds and greens. After that, the next most common form of color blindness makes it impossible for affected individuals to distinguish between certain kinds of blues and yellows. Total color blindness is rarer than either one of those two issues.

Are Cats Color Blind?

Color blindness is specifically a human issue. As a result, it doesn’t quite make sense to ask whether a cat has color blindness or not. Still, the gist of things carries over well enough. As for the answer, well, the simple fact of the matter is that cats don’t see the same range of colors that we do. In short, different kinds of cells in the retina of the eye do different things, with the cones being the ones that are responsible for seeing color. Humans have about 10 times the number of cones that cats do. Thanks to that, we see a much wider range of colors than cats do. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite clear which colors cats can and can’t see, not least because we can’t exactly ask them about the way that they perceive the world. Scientists believe that cats can see both blues and grays. Some go a step further in that they believe that cats can perceive yellows as well. Under these circumstances, calling cats color blind might not be the most accurate descriptor. However, it isn’t the worst way to describe their color-seeing capabilities from a human perspective, seeing as how it gets the gist of things across well enough. More research is still needed to figure out exactly what cats can and can’t see. Until then, much remains uncertain, though what is sure is that cats aren’t as good at seeing colors as we are.

How Else Are a Cat’s Senses Different from a Human’s Senses?

A cat’s senses are different from human senses in other respects as well. This makes sense because they evolved for a very different lifestyle from ours, meaning that they needed different capabilities to support their different lifestyle. To name an example, while cats aren’t stereotypically famous for such in the same way that dogs are, cats actually have a very good sense of smell. Said animals have more than 200 million odor sensors in their nose whereas humans have just 5 million odor sensors in our nose, which in more practical terms, means that the feline sense of smell is about 14 times better than the human sense of smell. This should come as no surprise considering that cats put so much effort into leaving their scent everywhere, with head rubbing being a particularly well-known example of their methods. In fact, interested individuals should remember that their cats are very reliant on their scent, meaning that it has a huge effect on their mood as well as other aspects of their wellbeing.

In contrast, a cat’s sense of taste is pretty weak when compared with a human’s sense of taste. This is because cats have just 473 taste buds compared to humans’ 9000 taste buds. In fact, it should be mentioned that cats are actually wholly incapable of tasting sweetness, meaning that interested individuals might want to rethink their sharing of sweet foods with their feline companions. As for why this is the case, well, one line of speculation is that this is connected to their nature as obligate carnivores. Apparently, cats just lost the ability to taste sweetness at a distant point in the past, so much so that it is possible that it was this loss that led to them become obligate carnivores rather than the other way around.

Returning to sight, feline vision is both better and worse than human vision because it is specialized for different things. As mentioned earlier, cats don’t see colors as well as humans. Moreover, cats are also pretty near-sighted from a human perspective. In exchange, our feline companions have a major advantage when it comes to seeing in low-intensity light, which is very useful because cats tend to be most active during the dawn as well as during the dusk. Even so, they still need some light to see by because they are just as helpless as we are when put in total darkness. Besides this, cats have a wider field of vision as well as greater peripheral vision. When combined with their excellent hearing, these characteristics make them that much better at picking up on the presence of other animals, which would have been even more critical for their ancestors’ survival than it would have been for our ancestors’ survival.

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