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How Do Cats See Humans

cat and girl looking at each other

It is a universal truth that all cat parents love how their fur babies look and behave. But, have you ever wondered if your cat likes you how you look?

To put it precisely, cats are colorblind, cannot see far, and do not observe colors the same way as humans.

You may be surprised to know that cats do not see us like we see ourselves or our feline fellows. One of the major reasons is that cats do not have the same color cones as humans. While they can see many colors, they lack the cones that respond to red color. However, the inability to see red color does not mean that they cannot distinguish between other colors. Instead, research by R. H. Douglas and G. Jeffery [1]shows that cats can see colors humans cannot!

It has been studied that cats and a few other animals can see some colors at the end of the UV spectrum that humans lack the quality to observe. Though we cannot see UV shades around us, flowers and birds are believed to have UV colors which means that your cat’s world is uniquely colored besides the lack of red cones.

Secondly, they cannot comprehend the shape or structure of an object properly beyond 20 inches. So, you may say that your cat experiences a different world in which you only look like a giant “something,” especially if you are far away.

A Tokyo University research found that cats recognize their owner’s voice. Yet, the same cannot be said about face recognition.

Another study conducted showed that dogs recognize the face of their owners/ providers while cats do not. On the other hand, cats proved to be better at remembering the faces of fellow cats. It shows that cats are good at recognizing familiar cats, but they cannot identify human faces well. They rely on voice, scent, and other similar characteristics to remember their pet parents.

Does that Mean my Cat Thinks I am just a Giant Cat?

Yes. Cats can see that you are not the same size as them. Yet, they do not think of you as another species but assume that you are a huge cat. Though this may sound strange to you, it helps them befriend you soon. Cats are lovely, friendly creatures, and they think of you like family, which contributes to their loving nature and attachment with you.

How do Cats see Humans in the Dark?

cat in dark

Underestimating a cat is never a good idea, especially if you think that their nearsightedness makes them any less. Cats have an incredible night vision (much better than humans) which allows them to observe movements in dim lights. Cats cannot adjust their pupils as well as humans to observe faraway objects, but they can see you even when you cannot see them.

Cats require only one-sixth of light compared to humans to see clear movements. While you may be watching your cat play in their space quietly, thinking that they can’t see – you might be mistaken!

Do Cats Dilate their Pupils to Focus on you?

If you see your cat dilating their pupils more than usual and believe that they are trying to look at you more clearly, we’re sad to break the news that it is not so.

Cats may dilate their pupils due to environmental factors, emotional reasons, or age. Cat’s sensitivity to light makes them dilate their pupils and they seem larger at night especially. So, if you see changes in your cat’s eyes in response to light changes, don’t worry. Yet, sometimes your cat might also dilate their pupils as a result of an underlying medical condition.

So, how do Cats see Humans Exactly?

Cats see humans as giant, clumsy cats without hair and may not notice your red hair. They have no idea that you are a different species and might just believe that you are their mother.

The Bottom Line

Cats are not good at recognizing human faces because of their near-sightedness and lack of red cones. Instead, they think of humans only as big cats. However, they can remember cats they have familiarized themselves with. While you may want your cat to know that you are a human and look different, their lack of capability to understand makes them think of you as family members and bond quickly. Isn’t that so good!

Sources

  • https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2013.299
  • https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10071-013-0620-4

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