Everything You Need to Know About Your Cat’s Eyes
There has always been conflicting information as to how cats see and perceive the world around them. Because we can not see through the eyes of our cats, scientific study is the only way we can really uncover more facts about cats. A cat’s eyes function similar to human eyes. The pupils constrict in bright lights to reduce the amount of light entering and dilate in low lighting.
Cats also have an additional reflective layer covering the retina, which helps them to see clearly in darkness. This is the reason why you can see a shine in cat eyes at night. In this blog, we’ll be providing valuable information that’s all about cats' eyes and highlighting exactly how cats' eyes work.
The Purpose Of The Third Eyelid
Unlike humans, cats have a third eyelid, located at the inner side of the eyes. It is called the nictitating membrane, and it helps protect the eyes from damage or dryness. This extra eyelid also helps remove pollen and debris from the surface and to redistribute tears across the cornea. If you watch your cat closely, you'll see this third eyelid retracting to the inner cornea.
If a cat is sick, this additional eyelid will partially close. This is a warning sign and it indicates that there’s a problem with your cat, like an infection, trauma, or another ailment. In such cases, make sure to get in touch with the veterinarian immediately.
They Show How Your Cat’s Feeling
Like humans and other mammals, a cat’s eyes are a direct indicator of their mood and feelings. The changes in the size of the pupils are one of the most common clues other than physical behavior. For instance, if a cat is angry, it will have narrowed pupils.
If it’s frightened or excited, you’ll see that a cat’s eyes are wide open and the pupils grow larger. On the other hand, a happy cat’s eyes will appear a bit darker than normal. Also, you can see the third eyelid when your cat is very comfortable like when after waking up from a deep slumber.
Common Eye Conditions And Diseases
A cat’s vision is different than ours, but they can experience some of the same conditions and diseases as humans. The problems range from moderate to fatal and treatment can cost a lot of money. Hence, most cat owners opt for cat insurance.
Some common feline eye conditions include:
- Corneal Sequestrum - This is a common problem with cats where a black spot appears on the cornea. Symptoms include squinting and excessive tears.
- Infections - They’re quite common and can be caused by fungi, viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Symptoms include redness, discharge, and swelling.
- Allergies - Dust, pollen, smoke, and other irritants can cause allergies. Common symptoms include redness and excessively watery eyes.
- Conjunctivitis - Inflammation of the pink membranes within the eyelids. Symptoms include squinting, red-swollen eyes, and drainage.
- Tumors - Certain tumors can develop inside or on the surface of a cat’s eyes, leading to secondary glaucoma or removal of the eye.
- Glaucoma - This can lead to blindness and excessive damage to the retina and optic nerves. Immediate treatment is required to prevent loss of vision.
The Importance Of Their Night Vision
Cats have superior nocturnal vision. They can see with just one-sixth of the light that we need to see in full darkness. For cats, the iris muscles around the eyes are designed so that the eye is narrowed to a vertical opening, and opens completely in very dim light to allow optimum vision.
Moreover, there’s an additional lining behind the cat’s retina. It is called the tapetum lucidum, and it reflects incoming light. This lining is the reason a cat’s eyes shine like green orbs when light hits their eyes in the darkness. Their night vision is a trait that was developed for survival and predatory reasons given wild cats mostly hunt during nights.
Did You Know
- Are cats colorblind? No, they aren’t. Although they can’t distinguish colors as clearly as humans, they can still see colors.
- A normal human’s vision is 20/20, but a cat’s vision is 20/100. This means they’ve got excellent long-distance vision, but things can appear fuzzier up close.
- Cats with white and/or blue eyes are mostly deaf.
- If you bring an object directly below the nostrils of a cat, they find it difficult to see.
- If you’ve seen cats chasing lasers, it is because of the predatory urge of catching a moving object, not because it sees the dot vividly.