Thursday, February 22, 2024

Why Do Cats Have Slits In Their Eyes

Don't Miss

How Cats Get Their Eye Color

Why Cat Eyes are Slits and Vertical

Like any other animal, a cat’s eye color is determined by genetics. Different genes mean different levels of melanin, the amino acid that controls pigment in the eyes, skin and fur.

Melanin comes from melanocytes, the number of which determines the cat’s eye color. Wild cats in temperate regions such as lynxes and bobcats typically have hazel eyes.

It is very common for feral cats to have hazel eyes as well. However, the eye color of domestic cats can vary from blue to green to yellow, orange and a copper tone often mistaken for brown.

Superior Night And Peripheral Vision

Cats do not detect color as efficiently as other animals and they are pretty near-sighted. Although they seem to pounce on unsuspecting prey out of nowhere, they actually need to be no more than 20 ft from an object to see it clearly. Even with this nearsightedness, their night vision is impeccable.

Also, because of these elongated pupils, they have a broader peripheral vision than humans do, which is why theyre masters at catching bugs and birds that often see the cat only after the cat has pounced.

Natures gift to cats is most helpful because by having a broader range of sight peripherally, they can see predators more quickly and react to that threat. They can also see and pounce on prey more readily.

Do Cats And Dogs See The Same Way

According to Dr. Brown, dogs have a smaller area of binocular vision than cats. Binocular vision helps to judge distance. But cats have;less peripheral vision than most dogs.

This is due primarily to the placement of the eyes in the head, Dr. Brown says. The cats pupil is slit shaped and has a much more complex set of muscles controlling the pupil than the dog. The dogs pupil is round. The tapetum, which reflects lighting in the eye, is relatively larger in the cat. Cats depend more on contrast and degrees of brightness than dogs, due to the differences in the retinal cones. The muscles of a cats eye are much better at rapid eye movement than those in the dog, which allows them to better track small objects such as mice and birds.

For these reasons cats clearly have an advantage over dogs when it comes to vision.

Image:Scott Kinmartin/Flickr

You May Like: Cat Ate Chocolate

What Color Eyes Do Cats Commonly Have

If you have ever had more than one cat, then you know cat eye color varies. That said, Feral cats typically have hazel colored eyes, says Dr. Brown. Of course, specific breeds of cats have different eye colors that range from blue, green, and yellow, to orange and brown. Some cats may even have one blue eye and one of another color; a benign condition called heterochromia.

All kittens are born with blue eyes and at about 6 weeks of age they begin to develop their adult color, Dr. Brown says.

Image:Joshua Hackett/Flickr

Theres So Much More Than Just A Twinkle

Why Do Cats have Slits and Pockets on Their Ears?

Cats eyes are like windows to their souls â but they also offer a front-row view into their health. Fetch pet expert Dr. Aliya McCullough shares a few key signs to look out for in your catâs eyes.Â;â


Eye color can be linked to breed â blue eyes, for example, are common in Siamese cats. But in general, cat-eye color varies from shades of blue, green, brown and copper.Â;

Copper-colored eyes are beautiful, but they also could signal that they have a liver shunt, which can be a life-threatening condition impacting their behavior, blood and health. Not all cats with copper-colored eyes have a liver shunt , but many cats with liver shunts do have copper-colored eyes. Watch for changes in color and check in with your vet to make sure your cat is healthy.Â;

Typically, both eyes will be the same color but sometimes, cats are born with different colored eyes. This trait is generally nothing to worry about , but if you notice your catâs eyes begin to change colors, contact your vet as this could be a sign of inflammation, infection or cancer.Â;â


Catsâ pupils are vertical, while dogsâ and pet parentsâ are round. Most of the time catsâ pupils are shaped like slits, meaning they are content and relaxed. But if they get excited and are on the verge of pouncing, their pupils become round and large. Pupil size is determined by light and emotion.Â;

With these tips you’ll have another great reason to gaze into your catâs eyes â besides love.

Recommended Reading: Croton Poisonous To Dogs

What Does It Mean When Cats Eyes Are Slits

What Does It Mean When Cats Eyes Are Slits? Because cats are meant to be nocturnal hunters, this vertical pupil helps fine tune light, allowing them to catch prey at even the darkest of night. So, most of the time, your cats pupils are slits, meaning that he or she is content and relaxed. Get your cat riled up, though, and those pupils turn round and large.

Do you know the answer to this question? Help our community by submitting an answer.

How long does it take for a cats third eyelid to go away? 4-6 weeks

Is it normal for a cats third eyelid to show? Third Eyelids Are Visible: When a cat is waking or sleepy the third eyelids may be visible. But when alert and awake they are normally retracted and not evident. Persistent protrusion of the third eyelid can be caused by problems of the eye or nervous system.

Do cats die with their eyes closed? 1. Cats die with their eyes open. It takes active muscle control to close the eyes. Many cats will suffer for hours or even days before they die.

Why Are My Cat’s Eyes Always Dilated

One final word on pupil sizeâif your catâs pupils are consistently dilated , even in bright light, something is amiss. Check with your veterinarian if this is the case.

While we will never know what cats are thinking when they sit across the room and glare at us, at least now when we glare back, we can pick up a thing or two just by looking them in the eye.

Read Also: How Much Dry Food To Feed A Kitten

Why Is My Cat Staring

A cats senses operate on a delicately acute level. While you might be sharing the same space, you do not necessarily see the same things.;

Many cat owners have observed their very intelligent pets spending hours staring at the wall. What are they staring at?;

A cats keen sense of vision might lead him or her to follow the path of a minuscule insect or carefully stalk a floating speck of dust.

Its also possible that in those moments, cats are applying their sensitive ears more than their sharp eyes. Cats can detect the sounds of air moving through your vents or small animals moving about in your walls .

Maybe your cat is staring at you! A cat is wired to visually monitor its surroundings, and that includes you. You are the source of their food, attention, and care. It is natural for them to maintain a certain interest in your actions as they survey the scene.;

Cats eyes are engineered differently than humans. While we rely on the closing of our eyelids to keep our eyes hydrated, cats have the added benefit of a third type of eyelid, a thin layer called the nictitating membrane, to moisten and remove debris from the eyes. This saves them the need for frequent blinking.;

Dont get into a staring contest with your cat theyll probably win!

Why Do Cats Have Ear Slits

Why Does Your Cat Have Strange Eyes?


From their jelly bean toes to the tips of their quivering tails, feline anatomy is truly fascinating. Cats are built to be skilled predators, and you can see examples of their biological prowess in the way their backs arch during a jump or their claws come out during attack. Physical features we take for granted, like their big beautiful eyes and saggy bellies, all serve a specific purposemost of which have to do with survival.

But what about your cats ears? Have you ever noticed that your cat has a strange little slit on the side of each ear? Dont panic, its not an injury. In fact, all cats have this ear slit. Its another example of how cats are both fascinating and mysterious.

Don’t Miss: How To Tell If A Cat Is Stressed

Benefits Of Slits In Cats Eyes

Domestic cats are typically small and seemingly easy prey for larger predators. Weighing between 8 and 14 lbs , the average house cat is no match for most other animals.

In fact, even a large domestic cat breed, such as the Maine Coon, will only grow to about 16 in tall and may weigh up to 25 lbs .

Though this cats size provides a regal appearance, its still too small to be an equal match for other animals without having a few bonus gifts from nature.

One of those gifts is the ability to sleep all day and play much of the night, but it is, at least in part, because of their size and innate instincts that cats are typically most active at night.

It is because of this nocturnal activity and the fact that cats are loners by nature that cats need these slits or elongated pupils to maintain their keen eyesight.

The benefits are amazing and evidence of how nature takes care of itself. Benefits of elongated pupils, or slits in a cats eyes, include:

Its All In The Eyes: How To Learn The Meaning Of Cat Eyes & Know What Your Cat Is Thinking

  • Like

This article contains affiliate links. Found Animals receives a portion of the proceeds from every purchase made after clicking on the links. These profits go toward saving more homeless animals!

Today were looking at the meaning of cats non-verbal communication: the eyes. Read on for facts about cats eyes as a way of understanding what theyre thinking.

Have you ever been innocently petting a cat when all of a sudden WAP they get you with their claws? What was that all about? You think as you dab the blood with a tissue. With their impassive faces and ability to hide pain, cats are famously hard to read, unlike dogs who are pretty transparent. Whens the last time you wondered if a dog was happy, sad or scared? Probably never.

Cats do not have expressive faces like dogs, and it all comes down to the fact that they dont have eyebrows. That makes it a lot harder to tell the meaning behind your cats eyes. Like humans, dogs use eyebrows as a communication device. Call a dogs name and up go their eyebrows. Call a cats name and they look at you as if to say, Ugh, what do you want? They arent really thinking this ; its just that their faces dont demonstrate emotion.It is theorized that cats have a small capacity for facial recognition, meaning they dont really read our expressions. So while we cant read their faces, they cant read ours, either.

Also Check: How To Get Kitten To Use Litter Box

Should You Make Eye Contact With Cats

As a general rule, its perfectly ok to make eye contact with your cat. You might notice that your friendly feline will opt to make eye contact with you when he or she wants food, attention, or when you talk to each other.;

Problems may arise when attempting to maintain prolonged eye contact. Animals use eye contact to establish dominance amongst themselves and view prolonged eye contact as aggressive or threatening.;

A weaker adversary will avert their eyes submissively in deference to the stronger one, which is why cats have been known to seek out the one person in the crowd who doesnt like them!

Why Do Cats Have Vertical Pupils

Ever Notice Cats Have Slits And Pockets On Their Ears ...

There’s a scientific reason behind this physical trait, according to veterinary experts.

Cats are beautiful animals that constantly amaze us: Their hunting instincts remain intact even when they live indoors and their pouncing, running, and acrobatic sense of balance are exciting to watch. And when looking into a cat’s eyes, it’s a sight to behold. But look closely and you may wonder, why do they have vertical pupils? According to experts, the shape of their pupils serves an evolutionary purpose for our feline companions.

You May Like: Do Girl Cats Spray When In Heat

How To Tell If Your Cat Is Sick

Learning more about your cat’s eyes in general can you determine if he’s healthy. Let’s break down each part of the eye to find out what constitutes normal and what doesn’t.

A cat’s pupils can look like anything from vertical slits, to the classic spindle-shaped “cat’s eye,” to full dilation — big black dots that take up all of the colored part of the eye. Certain diseases, including trouble in a cat’s nervous system, can cause the pupils to be noticeably different sizes. A cloudy, milky, or filmy look to the pupils might be a sign of cataracts, viral ulcers or other vision problems.

The iris is the colored part of the eye. Cats usually have some variety of green, yellow, or blue eyes. Occasionally, a cat will be “odd-eyed”; each eye is a different color. If you notice changes in your cat’s iris or the appearance of splotches of other colors, contact your vet. It’s not unusual for the iris to change with age. Old cats’ irises may take on a “Swiss cheese” look, as if they’re falling apart — although they aren’t!

The “white” of the eye is officially known as the sclera. Obviously, this should be white . Yellow or “bloodshot” sclera, ulcers or splotches of color, and signs of damage are indicators of trouble.

Conjunctiva is the pink, fleshy stuff under the eyelids that helps hold the eye in place. You usually don’t notice the conjunctiva unless it swells up, in which case it may protrude from under the eyelid, giving the eye a “meaty” appearance.

Do Cats Feel Love When You Kiss Them

While cats dont kiss their owners in the traditional sense, they have many ways to show they care. When your cat purrs as you pet it in its favorite spot, its showing its affection and appreciation for you. While it might not feel much like love when your cat spreads its body across your face, it actually is.

You May Like: Why Do Cats Lay On Things

Why Do Cats Pupils Dilate

If you have ever snuck up on your cat accidentally and watched his pupils go from slits to saucers, then you’ve probably asked yourself this question. The fact is, cats pupils are designed to react to emotional situations and tend to dilate when they are angry or ready to pounce.

Cats pupils dilate just like dogs, humans, horses, and other species, says Dr. Haeussler. The iris is controlled by the brain, which tells the iris to constrict in bright light or dilate in dim light. When the pupil dilates, it allows more light to the retina.

All of this can mean that a cats eyes dilate when they are angry in order to better see their enemy. Spooky.

Image:Jason Samfield/Flickr

Cat Facts: 10 Interesting Things About Cat Ears Petm

Why Are Cat’s Pupils Slit Shaped?
  • Why Cats Have Two Ears and How do Cat Ears Work. To understand the behavior of your cat and what his or her body is telling you, you should first identify whether the ears are moving cause of their mood or because of a sound. Cats have two ears, just like most other mammals, to detect the location of a sound from their environment
  • Most animals have some hair in their ears. Different types have more or less depending on breed. I don’t have any experience with Maine Coon’s so I can’t tell if that is normal to that breed. Persians have a lot of hair. Unless it becomes a problem, like their ears are hard to clean or something like that, leave it alone
  • From their name, you’ll probably guess why the Norwegian Forest Cats need such fluffy tails. In fact, their entire bodies are thick and bushy, and they have waterproof fur with a thick undercoat. In addition to being quite popular in Scandinavian countries, the Norwegian Forest Cat is the fifth most-owned cat breed in France
  • Also Check: Why Does My Cat Snore So Loud

    Why Does My Cat Stare At Me

    This is a common question that makes many veterinarians laugh. Your cat is probably staring because he loves you, Dr. Haeussler says.

    The fact is, cat vision is a fascinating topic, as anyone who has ever loved a cat can tell you. Cats have numerous visual advantages. Everything in cats has evolved to make them hunters who can stalk by night. Kind of explains their nocturnal roaming, right?

    Working with All Animal Eye Clinic and Penn Vet, visual artist Nickolay Lamm undertook a project to try to;create a sense of cat vision.;He took side by side photos, one from the perspective of a human, the other from the perspective of a cat. The photos are amazing and Lamm himself said he was moved by the project.

    It kind of makes me think more about seeing from a cat’s point of view, he says. We love looking at them because they are cute, but;I didn’t think that much before about what;they;see, how they perceive us and the world.

    Image:Jan Faborsky/Flickr

    What Is The Spectrum Of Cat Eye Colors

    The color of the eye is all in the iris, a part of the eye aptly named after the Greek goddess of the rainbow. It has two layers that carry the color promoting cells that are known as melanocytes. These two layers are called the stroma and the epithelium. Each one carries melanocytes differently.

    It is in the stroma that the melanocytes are rather dispersed. It is in the epithelium that the melanocytes are firmly packed together. The colors can be blue, yellow, green, gold, copper, red or amber. Some cats may even have mismatched eyes!

    Also Check: How Long Can A Cat Live With Pectus Excavatum

    More articles

    Popular Articles