At first glance, it might seem as though cats don’t notice colors. Many of us have heard about cats possibly being colorblind, and it often seems like cats are. After all, your kitty doesn’t seem to care what color shirt you have on.
What colors do cats like?
Cats’ eyes only have blue and green cones, making shades of these colors more noticeable to them. However, rather than showing an interest in colors for their own sake, cats are drawn to these colors to detect movement more easily.
According to this video, blue and violet have calming effects on cats, showing that they do have some color perception. For cats, colors are most helpful for spotting smaller movements.
Cats have relatively low visual acuity in comparison to many other species. They do not make out detail at greater distances like humans with better vision. A cat’s range of vision allows for it to make out more details at a closer range.
How Do Cats See Color?
According to Rob Harris, cats see color in a similar way to humans. The most significant difference is that cats can see fewer colors than humans.
How is this possible? Like humans, cats have cones that make color differentiation possible. Their eyes contain fewer cones than ours. Cats also only have cones allowing them to see blues and greens, in contrast to our seeing blues, greens, and reds.
Despite cats only having blue and green cones, the range of colors that they can see includes more than these two options. Cats can see some yellow shades because this is a color that helps make green.
To cats, some shades like red or pink are likely to appear gray or black. All colors that cats can see will appear muted to our eyes. Think of what objects look like when you are outside at twilight, and you will get a better idea of how cats see things.
Cats may show a preference for toys of different shapes, regardless of color. When this is the case, the form is more of a factor. Your cat might prefer toys that resemble the shape of smaller prey animals, like birds or mice.
How Well Can Cats See at Night?
Christine O’Brien notes that cats have excellent vision in conditions with low light. This visual acuity in low light makes it easier for cats to see their prey.
Cats can see in 20% of the light that humans can. How this is possible is through an iridescent membrane that reflects light into the eyes. The effect of this membrane, known as a tapetum, is similar to that of a mirror.
When cats’ eyes appear to glow in the dark, this membrane is what is responsible. From lights in your house to camera flashes, the membrane reflects the light your cat requires. Colors have virtually no influence on a cat’s ability to catch prey.
Even in low-light situations in your house, your cat’s eyes will adjust to the situation. The use of nightlights around your home will make it easier for your cat to avoid becoming a tripping hazard.
Is There a Connection Between Color and Movement for Cats?
According to Battersea, all cats have hunting instincts, regardless of whether they are allowed outside or not.
Being able to see movement is one of the most valuable tools that cats possess. When a cat is more attracted to one toy over another, its movement is what likely appeals to your furry friend over the color.
Color can play a minor role in a cat’s ability to detect movement. Colors may overlap or wave in a way that helps draw a cat’s attention. This is possibly one of the reasons cats seem exceptionally responsive to toys with flashy or sparkly effects.
As another example, think of having a section of brown earth, like a flowerbed. If you’ve ever noticed your cat drawn to a blue or brightly colored bird hopping over the dirt, the color contrast is what plays the most significant role.
Your cat can better focus on its prey with the combination of colors and movement, regardless of the circumstances. Domestic cats have evolved as efficient hunters because of these natural predatory advantages.
Although movement helps cats see better, there are limitations. For example, a cat allowed outside is unlikely to be able to discern whether an approaching car is too close. For such reasons, your cat is safer indoors.
How Do Cats React to Certain Colors?
According to Purrfect Love, pastel shades of purple, green, yellow, and blue all seem to satisfy cats. Some shades will have more of a calming effect on some cats than others.
Mixed patterns, shapes, and colors are popular on cat toys and accessories with good reason. Color contrast helps these items seem brighter to cats, helping to spur their interest. Pink and yellow, red and blue, and black and white are winning combinations.
We’ve seen that cats can see yellow, purple, green, and blue. Of all the colors, these are the closest to what we can see. Remember that these colors will appear dimmer to cats than they will to us.
Some animal behaviorists and researchers question whether cats can see orange. You are likely to see orange on cat toys or accessories. However, the feline reaction to this color is likely mixed.
Browns and reds are colors that cats can questionably see. From a cat’s perspective, these colors likely have a grayish cast and are somewhat muted. When cats see these colors, they likely perceive them as blending into the local surroundings.
Cats are believed to see black in much bolder shades than people. White appears much brighter and possibly blurred, which makes anything larger and white intimidating. Some think that veterinarians’ white coats are scary to them because of this.
How Can You Use Color to Calm a Cat?
Rob from The Shoko Show, colors that cats tend to prefer are perfect choices for blankets to use when your cat is feeling stressed.
For example, many owners prefer to wrap their cats in a blanket during a vet visit. The blanket can help make the cat feel more secure in what is often a stressful setting. If the blanket is in a favorite color, your cat will feel more secure.
Avoid using a crate or carrier that is white to transport your cat. To a cat, a white crate appears to be glowing. You especially want to avoid this for vet trips because there are a lot of white surfaces that can contribute to your cat’s anxiety.
A toy in a color your cat seems to enjoy can also be a major stress-buster. The toy, which your cat will associate with good times, can calm your cat down very quickly in bad circumstances. Catnip-filled toys are especially helpful.
When your cat shows calm behavior, reward it with praise and a treat. Your cat will associate being calm with getting rewarded. A rewarded cat is a happy cat.
Cats Enjoy Several Colors
Cats can see several colors, but they see them differently because of the number of cones in their eyes. Many of the colors that they see have a muted tone. Colors and motion work together to help the cat hunt more effectively.
Certain colors and color combinations have a broad appeal for cats. The use of these colors together will encourage your cat’s use of its hunting instincts. The right color combinations can also calm your cat down.