Have you ever looked at your dog or cat and wondered if they see the same world we see through their eyes?
Read on to find out the answer to this question! Today, you’ll find out whether dogs and cats are colorblind or not!
Ideally, cats and dogs are color blind, as they aren’t as sensitive to colors as we are. However, they’re still able to distinguish various colors, such as blue and green. The limitations of their color perception are due to the lack of certain receptors in their eyes.
If you want to know what exactly do cats and dogs see, as well as debunking other myths, keep on reading!
Are Dogs and Cats Color Blind?
For a long time in history, it was thought that humans are the only creatures that are able to see the world in colors where all other animals can’t distinguish colors and can only see the world in black and white.
However, Scientists found out that “almost” no animal out there sees the world in black and white.
Instead, some animals might still have limitations when it comes to seeing the world in full colors, which means that they’re technically color blind, but not in the way we used to think. Let’s have a brief overview of dogs’ and cat’s vision and color perception.
Dogs’ eyes only have two types of vision cones, which make them “dichromates”. This is a term that describes animals who are only able to visualize and discern two colors and their shades only.
These cones are blue and yellow. This means that dogs aren’t able to visualize the colors green or red.
Not only that, but they also can’t sense the shades that contain any of these colors, including purple, orange, and purple, as they all have green colors.
Since the color red plays a role in giving us a good hint of brightness and shade, dogs are also unable to notice the slight changes in brightness with ease.
Cats, on the other hand, also seem to lack the ability to perceive the red color. However, they do visualize the colors blue and green easier.
Initially, scientists thought that they’re also dichromates as dogs. But they’re slightly different. Cats tend to visualize some colors much better than the other.
Their photoreceptors are most sensitive to colors or greenish-yellow and blue-violet ranges with a very slight hint of green.
This makes cats also color blind in terms of the red and green ranges. Cats’ vision is usually a much less vibrant version of how we see the world, especially with the reddish zones. Similarly, they also don’t perceive the slight changes in color brightness.
What Is Color Blindness?
Unlike the initial thought that color blindness is the lack of seeing any color at all, it’s actually the reduced ability to see any colors even if you can perceive the others just fine.
All eyes see light due to specific photoreceptors inside them. To be able to distinguish light, you need ones called “rods”, which are present in most animals.
However, the receptors that distinguish colors are called “cones”. Our eyes have red, green, and blue cones. That’s why most of us aren’t color blind.
However, with the lack of production of these color receptors, our eyes won’t see the corresponding color properly, rendering us color blind. For that reason, both cats and dogs are considered color blind.
Can Dogs and Cats See in Complete Darkness?
Although cats and dogs have fewer cones than we do, their eyes are optimized with a much higher density of rods than we are.
This makes them a perfect hunter who is able to see well with much less light needed when compared to us (similar to how night vision cameras work)
However, they still need that slight bit of light to be able to see. So, if they’re in a pitch-black room with absolutely no light at all, they won’t be able to see.
But, they might still be able to smell and hear, which makes us think that they see in complete darkness.
With that said, you now have a full answer to the popular question “ are dogs and cats color blind or not”.
As you can see, both dogs and cats are technically color blind. However, they might still be able to visualize some colors, such as yellow, and blue.
The only animal discovered to date that doesn’t have any cones, and therefore see the word in black and white, is a certain type of ray known as “Skate Fish”.