How cats see the world: how many colors do they distinguish and why do they have such long whiskers

By Jurassic JennJun 5, 2024 11:04 AMAnimals
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How cats see the world
How cats see the world. Source: www.businessinsider.com

Cats use the same five senses as humans, but we still perceive the world differently. Why is this important to us?

SSPDaily writes: "The world cats live in is very different from the one we live in. And to better understand the logic of their actions, you need to understand how they see reality. After all, despite the fact that we have the same senses, we process information in completely different ways."

Vision

Just like humans, cats use their eyes to see the world and find food. However, the structure of the human and cat eyes is different.

Although the accuracy of a cat's jumps in the dark may give the impression that it can see perfectly in complete darkness, it still needs some light. Therefore, the best hunting time for these animals is at dusk or dawn.

Light enters the cat's eye through the cornea, the round, transparent surface of the cat's eye. The cornea focuses light onto the retina, which lines the back of the eye from the inside.

The cat's cornea is large and domed, allowing its eyes to collect the maximum number of photons - a key solution for active activities in low light.

The pupils of cats are long and vertical, narrowing to a slit in daylight but dilating 300 times when it is dark (in humans, the pupils only dilate 15 times).

At the back of the cat's eyes is a layer called the Tapetum lucidum, which reflects unabsorbed light back into the retina (this helps them see in dim light) and causes the characteristic glow that can be seen when light falls on the animal in the dark.

Other aspects of feline vision

Because their retinas have fewer cones - photoreceptors responsible for color perception - it is believed that cats see the world less brightly and in fewer shades than humans.

These cones are also responsible for visual acuity, so their vision is more blurred, despite their superiority over us in this regard in low light.

In general, what cats see at a distance of 70 meters, we see at a distance of 300-350 meters.

It should be noted that this does not make them less mobile. Cats are sensitive to movement, not to complex details and colors in an image, so a limited number of colors does not matter to them.

Sound

The triangular-shaped cat's ears act like small, fluffy satellite dishes. Their ears are able to independently rotate forward, backward, and sideways to pinpoint the exact location of a sound. The 180-degree rotation of their ears means that cats can pinpoint the source of a sound to within a few centimeters in just six hundredths of a second, from up to 10 meters away.

They can also distinguish extremely subtle sound nuances, down to one-tenth of a tone, and their ultrasonic hearing is far superior to that of humans and even dogs.

Sense of smell

Cats' sense of smell, unlike the other four senses, develops before they are born. And when a kitten is born, it immediately uses it to get to the nearest nipple of its mother.

Experts believe that a cat's sense of smell is about 14 times better than ours. A domestic cat's olfactory epithelium, a specialized nasal tissue that contains receptors that pick up odors, is five to ten times larger than a human's.

As a result, cats have up to 200 million specialized scent-recognizing cells, compared to our five million.

Our feline friends have another tool at their disposal: the Jacobson's organ. Located above the mouth, the receptor cells in the Jacobson's organ communicate with the part of the brain responsible for sexual, eating, and social behavior. If the cat hears something interesting, it will open its mouth slightly and curl its upper lip (this expression is called the Flemen reaction).

This shunts air molecules to the organ of Jacobson. The inhaled air is retained by the olfactory epithelium or Jacobson's organ, which allows blind kittens to find food accurately.

Tactility

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