Can Cats See Color?

Shallow Focus of Cat Face

Can Cats See Color? Yes, cats can see color, but their color vision is not as vibrant or varied as that of humans.

Cats primarily see shades of blue and green, with a limited ability to distinguish between red and green.

How Do Cats See Color?

Cats have fewer color-detecting cells, or cones, in their retinas compared to humans.

While humans have three types of cones that allow us to see a full spectrum of colors, cats have only two types, which limits their color perception.

What Colors Do Cats See?

Cats see the world primarily in shades of blue and green.

Reds and pinks may appear more greenish, while purple looks like another shade of blue.

Their color vision is similar to that of a person with red-green color blindness.

For more information on cat vision and understanding your cat’s senses, check out our comprehensive blog about what colors can cats see.

Are Cats Color-Blind?

Cats are not completely color-blind, but their color vision is limited compared to humans. They can see some colors, but their perception is not as rich or varied.

How Cats’ Vision Differs from Humans

  • Color Perception: Cats have a dichromatic vision, meaning they can see two primary colors (blue and green).
  • Night Vision: Cats have excellent night vision. Their eyes have more rod cells, which are more sensitive to low light, allowing them to see well in the dark.
  • Field of View: Cats have a wider field of view (about 200 degrees) compared to humans (about 180 degrees), which helps them detect movement and potential prey.

Are Cats Nocturnal?

While cats are often thought of as nocturnal, they are actually crepuscular, meaning they are most active during dawn and dusk.

This activity pattern is closely related to their hunting instincts, as many small prey animals are also active during these times.

Why Are Cats Crepuscular?

  • Hunting: Early morning and late evening are prime times for hunting small animals like rodents and birds.
  • Survival: Being active during these times helps cats avoid larger predators that are more active during the day or night.

How Vision Impacts Cat Behavior

Cat Walking on Pavement with a Fish in its Mouth
  • Hunting and Play: Cats rely on their vision to hunt and play. Their ability to see well in low light conditions makes them effective hunters, especially at dawn and dusk. Their vision also plays a key role in their play behavior, as they enjoy chasing and pouncing on moving objects.
  • Interaction with Environment: Cats use their vision to navigate their environment. While their color perception is limited, their ability to detect movement and see in low light helps them avoid obstacles and find safe paths.

Enhancing Your Cat’s Visual Environment

  • Provide Stimulating Toys: Use toys that move or change shape to engage your cat’s vision and hunting instincts. Interactive toys can help keep your cat mentally and physically stimulated.
  • Ensure Proper Lighting: Provide adequate lighting during dusk and dawn to support your cat’s natural activity periods. Avoid exposing them to harsh, bright lights during these times.
  • Safe Outdoor Access: If possible, create a safe outdoor space for your cat to explore. This can provide visual and physical stimulation, helping to keep your cat healthy and happy.


Cats can see color, but their vision is limited compared to humans.

They primarily see shades of blue and green, with a limited ability to distinguish between red and green.

Understanding your cat’s vision can help you better cater to their needs and create a stimulating environment that supports their natural behaviors.