Feline eye facts

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Here are some interesting facts about the ah-so-attractive feline eyes.

  • A cat’s nocturnal vision is far keener than that of a human. She needs only one-sixth of the light that we
    Sudhersena
    humans need.
  • A cat’s eye has more rods and fewer cones than ours. Cones are sensitive to high levels of light and rods are sensitive in low levels of light. This means that while we have better colour vision, a cat can detect motion better.
  • A cat cannot see in total darkness.
  • The pupils of the cat open fully, covering as much as 90 percent of the eye to enable the cat to see in low light situations.
  • A cat has a shiny membrane in the back of the eyes, behind the retina called the “tapetum lucidum,” which helps to reflect light back through the retina, enabling the animal to see better in low light situations.
  • During broad daylight, the pupils contract to a narrow slit to protect the sensitive retina.
  • The pupils can also be a window to a cat’s mood. An angry cat will have narrowed pupils, while an excited or frightened cat will have eyes wide open, with large pupils.
  • Cats don’t actually see close objects very well but they have a keen vision for far away objects.
  • Cats have a third eyelid called nictating membrane which is found in the inside corner of the eye. If the membrane partially covers the eyeball, it may be a sign of serious illness.

(Sudhersena is volunteer at the Blue Cross since 1998 and an avid animal lover, owns nine cats and three dogs. She is associated with a number of animal welfare campaigns and programmes. For further information, contact: Blue Cross of India, 72 Velachery Road, Chennai –32 or e-mail at [email protected] )

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