By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated 6 April 2011)
Do cats and dogs see in colour? The short answer is yes. They have both rods and cones in their eyes. Rods enhance night vision while cones are associated with the ability to see colours. So contrary to popular belief, cats and dogs are not colour-blind.
Researchers have found that cats’ brains respond to colour and that both cats and dogs can recognize various colours. In experiments, cats have been able to tell many different colours apart, and distinguish most colours from gray.
Overall, dogs are not completely colour-blind because they can see more than just shades of gray, but they do have a type of partial colour-blindness known as deuteranopia because of the three colour receptors possessed by most humans – red, green, and blue – they lack the receptor for green, whereas cats lack the red receptor but have receptors for blue and green, a condition known as protanopia in humans.
- Adams, C. The Straight Dope. (May 1, 1987). “Are cats and dogs really color-blind? How do they know?”
- Cornell University – Ask A Scientist. (22 October 1998). “Cats, dogs can see some color.”
- Schneck, M., & Caravan, J. (1990). Cat Facts. New York: Barnes & Noble Inc.