are cats that watch tv smarter

DEAR JOAN: It appears that my Maine coon cat enjoys watching television. She sits about 3 feet from the 49-inch TV. Her gaze follows the action, and she will jump when the scene abruptly changes.

DEAR MICHAEL: Cats do in fact frequently watch television. Having said that, none of the cats I’ve ever owned have ever given the TV even a passing glance, so I believe your cat is unique.

If you don’t count a severe case of cute overload, there’s not much reason to be concerned about allowing your cat to watch television. It can give cats who spend a lot of time alone some mental stimulation. The main worry is that if the cat becomes overly interested in watching TV, it might hurt it and not do much good for the television set either.

Because they are small and timid, they prefer to avoid human beings and populated areas. However, due to their voracious appetite, they occasionally slip into backyards to go on nocturnal food hunts. They resemble small cats or ferrets.

If you don’t want your cats to become couch potatoes, try spending more time with them, get them some interactive toys, and give them a perch by the window. You can purchase DVDs of birds and other animals for them to watch if you don’t mind them watching TV but don’t want them to watch “The Catchelor” or too many cat food commercials.

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It seems sense that since cats are the most popular subjects for viral videos on the internet, they would also probably enjoy watching videos. Do cats watch TV and say to themselves, “Wow, what a great show?” Or can they see it and understand what’s on the screen?

Inquiring cat parents want to know if their furry friend enjoys screens and why, as well as what makes them so appealing.

Can Cats See TV?

The short answer is “sort of. While many cats can and do watch television, the vets at VetBabble point out that cats “dont bring the same perspective as humans to viewing.” Although they are very intelligent, cats are amused by color and movement, and they lack the cognitive and reasoning abilities to translate sights and sounds into more complex thoughts. Your cat isn’t thinking, “What a beautiful red bird!” when it watches a red cardinal flit about on a tree branch; instead, it’s thinking more along the lines of, “Small object! Movement! Must catch!”

Similar to humans, cats interact with television through their vision and hearing, but they are also drawn to screens because certain videos pique their natural hunting instincts.

Since watching television is primarily done through vision, it’s useful to consider how cats’ eyes function when pondering whether or not they can see television. The moment light reaches the retina, cats’ perception of the world begins. Cones and rods, the retina’s two primary photoreceptor cells, convert light into electrical signals. Cats are able to “see” what’s in front of them thanks to the transmission of these electric signals to the brain.

As explained in the Merck Veterinary Manual, a cats cone cells give them “excellent visual acuity and binocular vision,” and give them the ability to see different colors. Because they have fewer cones than humans, cats cant see a full spectrum of color, but kitties can see red, green and blue. However, cats have more rods than humans, which is why they have much sharper vision than humans in dim light — up to six times better than their pet parents, says Merck.

Cats are more likely to watch television that combines red, green, and blue with fast-moving objects because of the way their eyes are made. Don’t be shocked if your pet likes watching children’s television because many of these shows feature bright colors and fast motion.

A cats sense of hearing is one of its strongest assets, which is why the sound of TV also attracts cats. “A cat up to 3 feet away from the origin of a sound can pinpoint its location to within a few inches in a mere six one-hundredths of a second,” points out Animal Planet. “Cats also can hear sounds at great distances — four or five times farther away than humans.” Because of their exemplary auditory acuity, a cats ears will perk up when they hear sounds on TV that occur in nature.

Your cat is programmed to whack the red cardinal out of the air when it flies from branch to branch. Cats have an excellent sense of hearing, so they can identify the size and location of prey simply by listening for tiny movements, such as a mouse rustling in the grass. A cat is going to be in hunting paradise if the sound of a cardinal flapping its wings and whooshing through the branches can be heard in your favorite TV show.

Fish, small mammals, and birds are the most common prey for cats, and all three make for entertaining cat TV. Is it possible for cats to watch TV without attempting to sneak up on them and attack what’s on there? Some cats are obsessed with on-screen antics, while others simply enjoy watching the action with a serene demeanor, and yet others might not be interested in TV at all. Your cat may or may not interact with televisions or other electronic screens, depending on their disposition and the strength of their hunting instinct.

Some cats may show interest in programming that features other cats, although researchers have not yet determined whether cats visually recognize other cats, or even themselves. Seeing another cat on the screen probably wouldnt activate their hunting instinct anyway because in addition to hearing, a cats sense of smell is one of its strongest advantages. Cats have over 200 million scent receptors (compared to the 5 million that humans have), giving them the ability to detect prey from great distances. But “even if they can identify other cats on television, the majority of cats are unlikely to feel threatened by them as they would a neighbors cat because they cannot detect their scent or other cues that tell them it is a real cat,” says Cats Protection UK. Until technological advances perfect smell-o-vision, your cat shouldnt react too negatively to seeing other cats on the screen.

FAQ

Are cats that watch TV smart?

Cats are entertained by the color and movement, and although cats are very smart, they do not have the cognitive and reasoning capabilities to process images and sounds into more complicated thoughts.

Why does my cat always watch TV?

Experts say that cats that watch television, especially those that follow the movements on the screen and react, might have highly developed prey drives, and they might be bored. There’s little worry about letting your cat watch television, if you don’t count a serious case of cute overload.

Why does my cat sit in front of the TV and stare at me?

Cats are naturally curious and since they are prey and predator animals, they always like to know what it is going on around. It could just be that they are observing you, maybe you just begun to move after sitting and they shift their focus to you due to the motion in the home.

Is it bad for cats to watch TV up close?

It won’t hurt your kitty’s eyes, so you don’t have to tell Fluffy not to sit too close to the TV,” says Dr. Orlando.