Cats are masterful predators capable of spotting prey from meters away even in low light or at night. But you’ll find stunning when you know this, place a treat in front of them and you’ll find them sniffing and searching which seems they are really blind.
Cat’s eyes are very big in relation to body size. Their pupils open much wider than ours do. They let in about five times more light. Furthermore, cats are crepuscular which means they’re most active at dawn and dusk. Their eyes have evolved to see things when the light is low. These certainly make them excellent nightmare hunters.
The parts of their eyes that let in and focus light–their corneas and lenses are also proportionally larger which ultimately means more light reaches the light sensing tissue in the back called the retina.
They have an extra reflective layer behind the retina called the ‘Tapetum Lucidum’ which reflects back any light that reaches it. This gives the retina a second chance to catch what it missed.
Special cells in the retina called photoreceptors are what actually sense light. Just like us, cats have two types of photoreceptors–rods and cones. Rods work best in low light but don’t sense color very well. And cones are used in color vision but they only work if there is a good amount of light.
Cats have almost three times as many rods compared to humans but they have fewer cones. Actually, there is a limit to a cat’s near vision. Those huge eyes and pupils keep them from being able to focus clearly on anything closer.
For humans, we need to bend that hard part of the eyeball called the lens to reshape how the light enters our eye in order to see the nearby objects. The muscles in our eyes can do this quickly when we need to focus on something close.
But the massive lenses in cat’s eyes aren’t as flexible, so they don’t bend as ours do. This simply means cats can’t focus on anything closer than about 25 centimeters to them. Once an object is nearby 4 inches (10 centimeters), other sense takes over: their whiskers swing forward to feel what’s in front of them, and their amazing sense of smell kicks in to identify the object. So here is the reason why cats can’t find the treat that kept in front of them. But they see as a blurred object.
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