do cats have better eyesight than dogs

Visual acuity is 20/75 in dogs and 20/150 in cats. In other words, a cat has half the acuity of a dog and a fifth of the acuity of a horse. The simple translation: A cat has to be more than 7 times closer to an object to see it as sharply as we do!

Comparing the Eyesight of Humans, Cats, and Dogs

The human eye is incredibly complex. It is capable of processing enormous amounts of visual data and distinguishing between millions of colors. A starry night allows the human eye to see almost 50 miles in the distance. Of course, there are other animals with more remarkable vision than humans, but how do our eyes compare to those of our feline and canine companions?

Approximately 200 degrees is the difference between the human field of vision and that of cats. When hunting, cats’ wider peripheral vision helps them detect prey movement. Given that they are crepuscular, meaning they are active at both dusk and dawn, their vision has evolved to support this behavior. This is also the reason for their excellent low-light vision. Though still less than that of humans, cats’ near-vision is superior to that of dogs’.

Their large, elliptical corneas aid in their ability to absorb light. Their eyes’ additional rods improve their night vision and allow them to detect any movement from prey in their peripheral vision. Cats also have a unique structure behind their retinas called a tapetum, which is believed to enhance night vision even more. The tapetum functions as a mirror, reflecting light into the eye and enabling a second opportunity to be detected. This is the reason cats’ eyes glow in the dark. Owing to these unique adaptations, it is believed that cats’ eyes are roughly twice as effective as dogs’ at seeing in low light.

However, cats don’t have an advantage when it comes to color vision. They can distinguish between various shades of green and blue, but certain colors, such as pink and red, are confusing to them. They seem to have more limited color vision than dogs. Cats, like dogs, are less affected by this loss of color because they focus more on detecting motion than on fine details. Because they have evolved to “pounce” on targets from relatively short distances, they are also rather nearsighted and cannot see objects that are very far away. They use their other senses, like hearing and smell, to help them locate possible targets in the distance.

Dogs do not always see the world the same way that humans do. But there are certain widespread misunderstandings about how our canine companions see the outside world. They see more than just the world in black and white, as many films and TV series have suggested. Actually, a “red-green” colorblind person and a dog have very similar color vision to each other. But there are significant distinctions between other aspects of canine vision and human vision.

Cones and rods are the two types of receptors found in humans and dogs alike. Dogs’ vision and ability to recognize color are severely limited because they only have two types of cones. Like cats, dogs have modified their vision to detect prey at a distance and depend more on motion detection than fine detail. Compared to cats, dogs have a mile-long range for hand signals. This implies that while they probably have a greater sense of color recognition than cats, it doesn’t really help them either. However, they do have trouble focusing properly on objects that are closer than a foot away. Additionally, their field of vision is wider than that of both humans and cats. They can see at 240 degrees, while cats can see at 200 degrees and humans can see at 180 degrees.

But when it comes to smell, dogs have an advantage over humans. Another benefit of having more rods than humans is having improved night vision. Additionally, dogs’ larger pupils enable more light to enter their eyes. Additionally, they have a tapetum that helps them absorb more light, just like cats do.

Dogs with 20/20 vision cannot focus properly on objects that are closer than ten inches away, which is why King might not notice the two or three kibble pieces that are still in his bowl. Cats are a bit better at near vision. However, due to their natural tendency to scan the distance for prey, dogs and cats are both fairly farsighted and rely more on motion than focus. Dogs are able to distinguish clear hand signals up to a mile away.

A visual streak—a high density line of vision cells across the retina—is present in both dogs and cats. This enables them to see distant, sharply focused objects even at the edges of their peripheral vision, or out of the corners of their eyes. Dogs and cats have a tendency to ignore stationary objects, but when something moves in their peripheral vision, this visual streak makes them feel the urge to chase it.

Low Light, High Light: The dog’s iris contracts the pupil to a round pinpoint, similar to human eyes, limiting the amount that can be inside. Compared to the canine eye, the feline eye has a more intricate figure-eight muscle that closes to a slit much more deeply.

Color Perception: Compared to humans, cats and dogs have fewer specialized cone cells in their retinas that are capable of differentiating between colors. But they can see color.

Field of Vision: With eyes on both sides of their heads, prey animals like rabbits can look in two directions at once. However, the eyes on the front of the face of predators like dogs and cats allow them to see in two dimensions and have binocular vision, which helps them time their pursuit and pounce accurately. Compared to cats and humans, most dogs only have about 30 to 60 degrees of binocular overlap. However, dogs excel in terms of visual field of view. Accordingly, King can still see 240 degrees when facing directly ahead, as opposed to 200 degrees for cats and 180 degrees for humans.

FAQ

Whose vision is better cat or dog?

Contrary to popular belief, the visual acuity and resolution in dogs is much higher than in cats. Ron Ofri, DVM, PhD, DECVO, professor of veterinary ophthalmology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, explains how cats have superior nighttime vision while dogs see better during the daytime.

Do cats have really good eyesight?

A cat’s visual acuity is anywhere from 20/100 to 20/200, which means a cat has to be at 6 metres to see what an average human can see at 20 or 30 metres. Cats seem to be nearsighted, which means they cannot see far objects as well. The ability to see close objects would be well-suited for hunting and capturing prey.

Can dogs see at night like cats?

Just like a cat, a dog’s eyes can see very well in the dark. In fact, both species, and most other animals, can see much better in the dark than humans can. However, although they can see better than us, dogs’ eyes aren’t better than their feline friends.

Can cats see further than dogs?

Dogs can see at 240 degrees, meaning they have a greater field of vision than cats. Unlike cats, dogs can see hand signals from a mile away but can’t focus on objects more than a foot away.