are cats and dogs color blind

To see in full colour as we know it, humans use three cones – red, blue and green. However cats and dogs only have blue and green cones. This means they have a much more muted perception of colour, which is akin to colour blindness in humans.

Have You Ever Wondered…

  • How can we know if an animal is color blind?
  • Can dogs and cats see any colors?
  • What are a few of the reasons why people become color blind?

Is it any wonder that so few dogs and cats wear spectacles? It goes without saying that most of them lack the kinds of ears that would make wearing glasses very convenient!

There is a common misconception that dogs and cats are colorblind and can only see in black and white. In fact, scientists believed this, too, for many years. It’s not like you can give a dog or cat a vision test and ask them to tell you what colors they see, so how could they know?

In order to determine whether animals can distinguish between different colors, scientists actually use complex tests that involve food and colored panels. For instance, a dog would get a treat if it could distinguish between colors well enough to select a panel with light colors.

These experiments demonstrated to scientists that although dogs and cats can see some colors, not all colors are visible to humans. It is now thought by scientists that cats and dogs can see blue and green.

This implies that, for instance, a dog could distinguish between blue and yellow but not between red and green. Therefore, it’s not your fault if you witness a dog running a red light—he may have mistaken it for green!

Humans can develop color blindness, also known as color vision deficiency, just like dogs and cats can. This does not imply that individuals with color blindness can only see things in black and white. Usually, it indicates that they are colorblind and find it difficult to distinguish between different hues.

Although it can be challenging to match your clothes if you’re color blind, this is rarely a major issue. The majority of colorblind people are able to do anything they want to. Sometimes they just have to come up with special adaptations. People who are incapable of distinguishing between red and green, for instance, are still able to operate a vehicle because they are aware that the red light is typically on top and the green light is typically on the bottom.

Problems with the cones in your eyes are the cause of color blindness. Cones are special cells on your retina that sense color. Cones come in three varieties for those with normal color vision: red, blue, and green. Cones transmit information to the brain, which decodes it to enable full-color vision. This allows you to “see” those colors and their combinations.

Your brain doesn’t receive the correct signals from your eyes when these cones aren’t functioning properly. As a result, you are unable to distinguish between certain colors and cannot see certain colors. For example, a blade of green grass might look gray. This is what doctors call color blindness.

The majority of the time, color blindness is an inherited condition that is inherited from your parents through their genes. Compared to girls, boys are more likely to be color blind. In actuality, color blindness affects one in twelve boys. Color blindness can also happen if the eyes’ cones are harmed by chemicals or physical contact.

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If social media is anything to go by, dog and cat vision are certainly having a moment, especially on TikTok, where it seems like practically every pet-owning user has accessed the platform’s wildly popular dog- and cat-vision filters.

Anyone who owns a dog or cat will eventually want to know how their pet perceives the outside world. So are apps and filters really a good representation of what we can see? Let’s compare what our furry friends can see to what we can see.

The Basics of Dog and Cat Vision(Credit: Zivika Kerkez/Shutterstock)

Dogs and cats’ eyes and human eyes are structurally similar at a basic level because both have retinas at the back of the eye that function in the same way. This layer of tissue receives light from our gaze, which is subsequently transformed into an electrical impulse. Once that impulse reaches the brain via the optic nerve, what you see is what you get.

Contained within the retina, both humans and their pets possess light-sensitive cells or photoreceptors called rods and cones. Basically, cones are the cells that allow us to see colors and fine details while rods are the receptor cells that enable us to detect motion or perceive our surroundings in low light.

Read More: Why More People Are Becoming Nearsighted

Most people have what’s called trichromatic vision, meaning that the cones in our eyes can perceive three primary colors: red, blue and green and that the wavelengths of these three colors can be combined to create any color in our brains. Thats great for humanity, but here’s where our visual perception starts to differ from our furry friends.


What colors can cats see?

Cats can see colours, but they don’t see quite as many different shades as humans can. Due to the construction of their eyes, it’s thought that the colours cats can see best are blue and yellow, while red and green appear to them as shades of grey, similar to people who are red-green colourblind.

What color can dogs see in?

Human eyes have three different types of cones, which allows us to identify combinations of red, blue, and green. Dogs, on the other hand, have only two types of cones, which means they can only discern blue and yellow. As a result, dogs are red-green colour blind.

What color can dogs and cats see?

Just like dogs, cats’ color vision is primarily in shades of yellow, blue, and gray, although cats tend to perceive more blue and greenish-yellow hues, while dogs’ vision focuses more on blue and yellow.

Does a blue eye mean a dog is blind?

Blue eyes in dogs are completely normal and aren’t linked with any health problems. Certain breeds, such as Siberian husky, carry a gene for blue eyes and don’t experience any vision defects because of it. However, eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma can change a dog’s eye color to blue gradually.