Categories: cat eyes

Can cats see infrared light?

Cats cannot see infrared light because it is not part of the visible spectrum. In this way cats are identical to humans except there MAY be a difference in that it is said that cats might be able to see ultraviolet light (UV). Both cats and humans can see light in the visible spectrum. The chart below shows the wavelengths of visible and invisible light.

Cat visible spectrum. Charts (modified by PoC) in public domain.

Cats can see better in the dark than humans because they have more light receptors called ‘rods’ which are designed for low light reception. But this ability does not allow them to see light that is not in the visible spectrum except perhaps UV light. A LiveScience article reporting on a study lead by Ron Douglas, a biologist at City University London, surprisingly states that cats MAY see UV light. They have lenses, a study suggests, which lets UV light through as opposed to blocking it as is the case with humans. I don’t know of any other study which has come to this conclusion.

This is how cats see the world:

Image by Michael at PoC

Image by Michael at PoC.

You can see the page that these images illustrate by clicking on this link.

I think that answers the question doesn’t it? If you have any questions on this please leave a comment.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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