Cat’s eyes: Feline Vision and Seeing-Eye Cats

I receive alerts for ‘peripheral vision’ and that brought me a very interesting item about how cats see the world. (Wired, 16 October 2013).

Cats have wider peripheral vision than us but surprisingly perhaps their visual acuity is not all that good, 20/100 or less. That means that where a person can distinguish something from 100 feet away, a cat would have to be as close as 20 feet to see it with the same clarity.  If cats could read they’d only get down to the second line of the eye chart at best!

As you will have guessed, cats are much better than us at seeing in dim light, and they are also able to see rapid movements well.

Cats have colour vision but are largely red-green colour blind, like many people.

Reading about feline vision led me on to wonder if there are any seeing-eye cats, like seeing-eye dogs. The Seeing Eye guide dog school had an April Fool about this

but amazingly it seems there really is the occasional seeing-eye cat. A famous one was was Baby, a white Persian who belonged to a Mrs Swanson of Los Angeles and who was photographed for LIFE magazine in 1947.

A more recent example is Admiral K’reme, a cat who miaows to provide his blind Robert Sollars with location signals.

Even more surprisingly perhaps, Wikipedia tells us that miniature horses have been used as guide animals. I didn’t know that.


About partialinsight

One evening I had a stroke. Half my sight vanished overnight. Adapting made me grasp how amazing the visual system and brain are. It also taught me to understand disability completely differently and I'm grateful for the lesson.
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