Categories: eyes

Do cats have binocular vision?

Cats must have binocular vision because they have two eyes working in unison to create one image in the brain.

Cats have the most highly developed binocular vision of all the carnivores – Fiona Sunquist writing Wild Cats of the World.

Binocular vision occurs when both eyes focus on an object to form a single 3-D image. It allows for precise depth perception (stereopsis). It also helps to see behind objects and provides ‘binocular summation’. This is improved vision in terms of acuity, sensitivity to contrast and brightness perception.

Cats’s eyes are set well forward and relatively high on the skull. This allows them to judge distances accurately which is imperative when pouncing on prey and jumping onto small areas where precision is important.

Cats also have a wide field of peripheral vision. Click this to read about that attribute.

Cats are thought to be aloof partly because they don’t look at you but stare into space. Their wide peripheral vision takes away the demand to focus their eyes.

The anatomy of the cat eye is very similar to that of humans. Click this link to see what cats see. The illustration is from Wikibooks. I improved the presentation.


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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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  • Very interesting. My Paka has one congenitally deformed eye. My vet thinks she is totally blind in that eye. I think she can see light. She is able to jump, bat a ball around and hit a ball hanging from a long string attached 5 feet above. This makes me think I am correct.

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