How do cats see the world?

how cats see the world

Although cats use the same five senses as humans, their perception of the world around them is different. Gaining a deeper understanding of their unique perspective could greatly improve our ability to provide optimal care for our feline companions. Many people wonder how cats see the world.

In this article we are going to tell you how cats see the world, and what is known about it.

How data sees the world

cats watching

On a superficial level, the world as perceived by domestic cats may seem similar to our own. However, upon closer examination, it becomes clear that their perspective is very different. To truly empathize with a cat, we must first understand their unique way of perceiving the world. Although cats have the same senses as humans (sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch), their interpretation and processing of sensory information differs significantly.

If the US intelligence service had understood the perspective and emotions of cats, it could have avoided wasted investments, such as its failed attempt to employ cats as spies in the Cold War.

It is possible to develop a deeper connection with our feline companions if we understand that they have certain senses that bear a striking resemblance to ours. To achieve a more harmonious coexistence, it is essential to know the inner workings of your cat. This is how you can expand your knowledge and establish a stronger bond.

The 5 senses

cats eyes


Like humans, cats rely on their vision to perceive their surroundings and search for food. However, the contrasting characteristics of human and feline eyes result in a different perspective on the world.

Despite the perception that cats have built-in night vision goggles due to their precise movements in the dark, the reality is that cats need a certain level of light. However, unlike humans who struggle with night vision, darkness is when cats really shine. Countless years of evolution have led to a greater likelihood of cats being active and engaging in hunting activities during the hours of twilight, dusk, and dawn.

The cat's eye is equipped with a round, transparent cornea that serves as the entry point for light. This cornea has the remarkable ability to concentrate light on the retina, which is located at the back of the eye. A notable feature of the cat's eye is its large, dome-shaped cornea, which allows it to capture a large number of photons, a crucial evolutionary advantage for thriving in low-light environments. Additionally, cat pupils possess a distinctive elongated, vertical shape, transforming into a narrow slit in daylight and expanding an astonishing 300 times in the dark (for comparison, human pupils only grow 15 times).

A cat's eyes have a layer known as the tapetum lucidum, which reflects light that is not absorbed by the retinas. This adaptation allows cats to see in low light conditions and produces eye glow, the luminous phenomenon seen when there is light in the dark. Additionally, cats have superior peripheral vision than humans.

There are certain aspects of how cats perceive the world that remain somewhat uncertain. Because their retinas contain fewer cones, which are responsible for color perception, cats are thought to experience a less vivid and nuanced visual experience compared to humans. These cones also play a role in the clarity of vision, which is why cats have slightly blurry vision, despite their exceptional ability to see in low light conditions. What a cat can see from a distance of 6 meters, we humans can only see from a distance of 30 meters.

However, his determination remains unwavering. Cats prioritize movement over the intricate hues and tones of an image, allowing them to navigate unhindered despite their limited color vision.


Cats' triangular ears function like furry little satellite dishes, allowing them to locate sounds with remarkable accuracy. These pinnae have the ability to rotate independently in several directions: forward, backward and sideways. In just six hundredths of a second, which is faster than the blink of an eye, cats can accurately determine the location of a sound to within a few centimeters. This remarkable auditory feat can be achieved even when the sound is up to one meter away.

Cats possess the remarkable ability to detect even the smallest variations in sounds, such as a tenth of a pitch. Their ultrasonic hearing surpasses that of humans and dogs. In 2015, researchers at two American universities conducted an experiment using tunes that incorporated sounds specifically adapted to cats, including purring and a rhythmic pattern reminiscent of sucking. The findings revealed that cats showed a clear preference for songs designed specifically for their species, such as "Cozmo's Air" and "Rusty's Ballad," over music intended for human enjoyment.


cats and dogs

As soon as it leaves the feline womb, the sense of smell is fully developed, which differentiates it from the other four senses. The newborn kitten quickly relies on its nose to navigate to the nearest nipple and engage in its initial nutritious intake of colostrum and milk.

According to experts, cats have a sense of smell that surpasses ours approximately 14 times. Compared to humans, domestic cats have an olfactory epithelium, which is the specialized tissue responsible for detecting odors, that is five to ten times larger. This difference in size allows cats to have up to 200 million cells dedicated to detecting odors, while humans only have five million.

The Jacobson's organ, an additional resource available to our beloved cats, is located above the mouth. Receptor cells within this organ establish a connection with the section of the brain responsible for regulating sexual, eating and social behaviors. Every time felines smell something intriguing, they adopt a peculiar behavior: they partially open their mouth and curl their upper lip. This action redirects air molecules toward Jacobson's organ. As inhaled air becomes trapped in the olfactory epithelium or Jacobson's organ, kittens have an additional opportunity to detect the molecules that make up various odors.


Whiskers, also known as whiskers, are specialized cat hairs that are longer and thicker than normal fur. These sensitive appendages, emerging from follicles rich in nerves and blood vessels, are comparable in sensitivity to human fingertips. Vibrissae play a crucial role in compensating for a cat's limited myopia. By detecting even the slightest drafts, they allow cats to discern the presence of potential prey and avoid obstacles.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about how cats see the world.

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