SCIENCE

How Do Cats See The World? A Lot Differently Than We Do (PHOTOS)

10/18/2013 09:43 am ET | Updated Oct 22, 2013

What exactly does the world look like to your purring pet?

Studies on the feline eye show that cat vision differs quite a bit from human vision. Cats have better night vision (no surprise there) and are better than us at following fast-moving objects. But the colors they perceive are less vibrant and the images they perceive are of lower resolution.

Pittsburgh-based artist Nickolay Lamm recently brought this research to life in a series of fascinating illustrations -- which he created after consulting with the clinical team at the University of Pennsylvania's veterinary school, as well as with Dr. D.J. Haeussler of The Animal Eye Institute in Cincinnati and Dr. Kerry L. Ketring of All Animal Eye Clinic in Whitehall, Mich. Check out his photos:

"I think these images do a good job of illustrating the difference in colors seen, resolution, and night/day abilities that make cats different from us," Dr. William Crumley, ophthalmology service chief at PennVet, told The Huffington Post in an email.

Lamm's images reveal one particularly striking difference between human and feline vision: cats have a visual field that spans a whopping 200 degrees, as compared to 180 degrees in humans. Differences in peripheral vision are also illustrated by the blurriness at the edges of the images. And, the fact that humans have an edge in seeing color also stands out.

"Our retinas have many more cones than cats, especially in the area of the fovea (which is all cones and no rods)," Lamm told The Huffington Post in an email. "This gives us fantastic day vision with lots of vibrant colors and excellent, detailed resolution. Dogs and cats have many more rods, which enhances their ability to see in dim light and during the night."

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