People used to believe that cats couldn’t distinguish between shades of colour and could only see in black and white. This misconception originated due to the fact that it was observed that cats did not and seemingly could not be trained to react to other colours.
Cats, on the other hand, have just recently begun to learn how to differentiate between different hues, such as red from green, red from blue, red from grey, green from blue, green from grey, blue from grey, yellow from grey, yellow from blue, and yellow from grey. In spite of the fact that they are capable of recognising one colour from another, cats don’t seem to place a high value on this capacity. The eyes of cats are highly developed in other areas as well, which allows them to accommodate abilities that are essential to cats.
For instance, a cat’s eyes are exceptionally well adapted to low levels of illumination. Rods and cones are the two types of receptor cells that may be found in the retinas of cats, just as they are in human retinas. Cones are responsible for resolution, whereas rods are responsible for night vision and sensitivity to low light. In comparison to human eyes, cat eyes have a greater number of rods and a lower number of cones. As a result, individuals have improved vision at night, albeit the picture is slightly distorted.
The tapetum lucidum, which is found in the eyes of cats, is a unique light-conserving system that reflects any light that is not absorbed by the retina as it travels through the eye. Cats have excellent night vision. As a consequence of this, the retina has a second opportunity to absorb the light, which improves the cat’s ability to see in the dark. When light strikes the eyes of a cat at a certain angle, this reflecting mechanism causes the eyes to glow in the dark, giving the cat its characteristic appearance.
When there is very little light, the pupil dilates all the way, which is when the night glow appears. However, when exposed to very intense light, the pupils of a cat constrict down to tiny slits, providing protection for the eyes. When the pupils are contracted to their fullest extent, they are entirely closed in the centre but remain open to the size of pinholes at the top and bottom of the eye. Cats can manage light that is too intense for their pupils to cope by closing their eyes, which allows them to handle light that is too bright for their pupils to bear by narrowing their pupils.
Additionally, cats have binocular vision, which means that the fields of vision of both eyes overlap to some degree. This ability is essential for developing three-dimensional vision, which is required for successfully hunting animals. Cats would be unable to discern distance, depth, or size if they lacked this sense. Some breeds, like the Siamese, do not have binocular vision that is as developed as other breeds, and as a result, they are not as good hunters. Another advantage that cats have when it comes to hunting is that their eyes are incredibly sensitive to movement.
However, while having all of these ocular capabilities, a cat does not automatically have the capacity to employ them. Kittens are born blind, and when their eyes open somewhere between 8 and 20 days after birth, they have to “learn” how to process all of the information that is flooding in through those openings. Before they are roughly 12 weeks old, it is quite improbable that they will have mastered the organs.
Around this period, their eyes also shift to the colour that will remain consistent throughout their lives. Orange, yellow, green, and blue are the colours that are most often seen. There is a high incidence of congenital deafness in white cats with blue eyes, and in cats with just one blue eye, the matching ear is partly deaf. The pupil is almost always dark brown or black, regardless of the colour of the iris, with very few exceptions.