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Colors My Cats See

chocolate point Siamese in the living room on a mat in the morning sun

Lily on one of the blue mats.

What Colors Cats See

And we all thought our feline friends could see that red mouse you so happily picked out for Christmas. UGH… They were not impressed with all the green and red toys. We were so naive about that cute stocking full of cat toys. Surely our cats would be impressed with such a vibrant selection. But apparently not.

They may have appeared impressed with the new selection and smells of those new additions to their toy box, but alas, not the colors. Just crazy shades of gray to them. You didn’t know that it was packaged for you to whip it up off the shelf and put in your basket to impress your cat at Christmas.

I had been told they don’t see colors like we do, but I didn’t want to believe it. After all they attack my new artificial flower arrangements, so surely they must notice the colors when I change them and some seem to attract them more than others. Apparently even I was fooled. In fact their color range is much smaller than I first believed.

Did you know colors were limited for cats and dogs?

Yes, I did know they didn’t see all the colors we do, but little did I know most of their world is in gray, blue, and yellow. I knew they were near-sighted. Can’t seem to see much beyond the 4 walls of their home. Although sometimes they see birds flying around outside and vehicles going by on the road. But at 20 feet or less their vision is sharp. Tiny insects I can barely see, they are in hot pursuit.

Of course it is no secret they can see better in low light than we can. That is why their escapades at night sound like little horses running through the house at high speed.

Even blue shades for them are not as brilliant as what we see. But it doesn’t surprise me now that I know they can see blue. I had bought Lily a bag of sparkle balls. Placed them all on the table. The colors were red, green, blue, white, gold, burgundy. She took off with the blue one in her mouth after checking them all out. Her second favorite was the gold, which of course is a close match to yellow. She plays with the others as she seems to love packing the balls around. And we know they do go for smell.

Chocolate point Siamese cat with sparkle cat balls

Lily checking out the new supply of sparkle balls

Was watching Americas Funniest Home Videos a few months ago and there was a dog in the clip. Owners said it didn’t matter where they put the ball on the rack of balls, their dog went after the blue one, even to the point of climbing on the rack to get it down. Well it now makes perfectly good sense. The blue ball is the only colored ball the dog can see. All the others are gray. Not a silly obsessed dog, just a dog that knows what color ball he would rather play with. I did read that throwing a green ball on green grass can frustrate a dog. Like finding “Waldo” as gray on gray.

Lots of articles on why they can only see certain colors and have provided a few links at the bottom. But I think the purpose of any of this information is to help pet owners understand that our vision is hugely different than our pet’s vision. With this knowledge you can re-think the colors you get your pet. Just like Lily likes the blue mat to rest after play. Sure the blue colors probably won’t match your decor but the cats might be happier with an array of blue toys. Maybe I should have went for the blue tunnel instead of the one that matched my carpet. But Lily still likes the tunnel even though it is not blue.

Now I am seriously thinking about hunting for vibrant blue cat toys or even bright yellow.

PS: Just thought of an interesting fact after I published this post yesterday. My cats both have blue eyes. Since blue is a color they can see, then it must be fascinating for them to see each others eyes.

More Information:

Cat Vision

Color for Cats

Have you ever checked to see what color your cat prefers?

Do you have blue toys or bedding for your cat?

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