Can Cats See Infrared? What You Need to Know!

Many cat owners believe that their cats can see things that they can’t. Cats have an intriguing vision, and it’s natural to wonder about it. Infrared light is visible to some animals, even though it is invisible to humans.

Is it possible for cats to see infrared? They are unable to do so. Even while your cat may be able to see things that you can’t, especially at night, they lack infrared vision. Because their bodies naturally release heat, warm-blooded animals cannot sense infrared. Certain cool-blooded species, on the other hand, may be able to do so. The ability of an animal to detect electromagnetic radiation is essential for vision.

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Humans can only see one type of light out of many that exist. Infrared light was found for the first time in the nineteenth century. Humans are unable to see this form of light.

Can cats see infrared?

can cats see infrared

It is not visible to other creatures, but it is noticeable to certain of them. Continue reading to learn more about your cat’s capacity to see infrared and how they perceive the world.

Visible light may be detected by the human eye. This term refers to electromagnetic wavelengths in the mid-range. It has a wavelength range of 400 to 700 nanometers. Longer wavelengths can be seen by animals with infrared vision. Is your cat able to see infrared?

If you own a cat, you’ve probably noticed how sensitive your feline companion is to things like warm patches on the bed.

Infrared radiation can be seen by snakes and some insects. Snakes, for example, have pits on their heads that enable them to see in the dark.

They can detect prey’s body heat, which makes hunting easier. Cats cannot perceive infrared because they are warm-blooded.

Because cats’ skins have acute heat sensors, they have an incredible ability to discover warm spots on the bed.

Cats can detect sunlight pools long before you can. They have the ability to detect UV radiation. The same ability has been observed in insects, reptiles, and fish.

We can’t detect UV light since we’re not human. It is filtered away by our eye lenses. If you have surgery to remove your contact lenses, you may be able to see in the ultraviolet. UV light, on the other hand, has the potential to harm the eyes.

Cats do not have ultraviolet-filtering lenses in their eyes. Our vision is clearer and more detailed than theirs. It’s possible that their excellent visual detail is the reason they see so much more than you do.

You may test your cat’s general vision at home if you’re concerned about it. A feather or cotton, as well as a penlight, are required for a home test. Begin by bringing your hands to their eyes. They should blink or look the other way as a response. If your cat doesn’t respond, his or her vision may be deteriorating.

Use your penlight to shine some light into their eyes and watch what happens. The cat should either turn aside or blink when their pupil constricts.

You can also use a feather or a piece of cotton to test your cat’s visibility. Drop it softly to the ground and keep an eye on it. Your cat should keep an eye on the cotton or feather as it falls if it has good vision. If you have any worries regarding your cat’s vision, make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Why Cats Can’t See Infrared Lights

can cats see infrared

Warm-blooded mammals have a more difficult time seeing infrared light than cold-blooded mammals.

If mammals such as cats and humans were able to perceive infrared light, their body heat would cause tremendous interference, causing the eyes to view a world of temperature rather than color.

Overexposure to infrared light causes the interior temperature of any creature’s eyes to rise. It has the potential to “bake” and injure their eyes.

Despite the fact that cats are unable to sight infrared, they may perceive it as heat. Cats have highly sensitive heat receptors, which explains their incredible ability to detect warm areas in unexpected places.

How Do Cats See?

Although you may blame your cat’s penchant for laser pointers and sparkling items on its hunting instinct, this personality trait is largely due to cats’ unique and sensitive vision. While cats are more colorblind than other animals and cannot enjoy colors, their environment is not wholly black and white.

Night Creatures

Cats have a higher capacity to see in the dark, which is why they are crepuscular creatures, active at night and early in the morning.

Because of the huge number of rods in their retina—six to eight times more than humans—felines have amazing night vision.

Kitty is more sensitive to low light and movements in the dark than cat parents due to the additional rod cells.

Do you know why a cat’s eyes sparkle in the dark when exposed to flashlights? The tapetum is a layer of tissue in cats’ eyes that reflects light to the retina.

This structure reflects light, allowing the eyes to gather as much light as possible, which is why their eyes glow in the dark.

Color Vision

Although cats have an advantage in terms of night vision, this is not the case when it comes to color perception. Because of the anatomical anatomy of their eyes, your feline pet does not see the color spectrum in the same way that humans do.

The reason for this is that the human eye has ten times the number of light receptors called cones, which work best in bright light. This trait allows humans to detect motion in bright light up to 12 times better than felines.

Humans are also trichromats, meaning they have three types of cones in their eyes that allow them to see a wide range of colors, particularly blue, green, and red. While cats are trichromats, their cone distribution differs, preventing them from seeing the same range of colors as humans.

However, just because felines can’t sense spectrums like humans, doesn’t imply they can’t distinguish between distinct colors. A cat’s vision is akin to that of a colorblind person who has trouble seeing items’ “real” pigmentation.

These animals can effectively visualize every thing in blue, yellow, and grey colours because they are less susceptible to brightness variations. However, they, like humans, have difficulty distinguishing between colors that are too bright, like as green and red. Cats interpret these deep hues as grey.


In addition to color perception, felines lack visual acuity, which refers to eyesight clarity. Because cats’ eyes lack the muscles that change the curvature of their lenses, their imaging isn’t as sharp as a human’s.

This trait causes felines to be more nearsighted, preventing them from seeing objects at the same distance as humans. Cats, on the other hand, need to be further away to have a better resolution since an item appears blurry until the cat gets very close to it.

Periphery Vision

To compensate for the other eyesight impairments, cats have a wider angle of view—200 degrees compared to 180 degrees for humans.

Felines have a larger visual field than humans due to their eyes being on the sides of their heads. This gives them an advantage in peripheral vision. This means cats can comfortably see what’s ahead of them, above, below, and to the sides.

What Animals Can See Infrared Lights?

can cats see infrared


Could the snake’s sixth sense be infrared vision? Pit organs are hole-like receptors found on the faces of snakes such as boas, rattlesnakes, and pythons. These organs allow snakes to combine their infrared vision with their normal vision.

When prey animal heat reaches these pit organs, it triggers a protein channel in the receptors, allowing the snakes to see in the dark. The snakes’ pit organs allow them to recognize a prey’s image from afar by receiving thermal cues from the animals’ bodies, providing them an extraordinary advantage.


Bullfrogs, for example, use an enzyme linked to vitamin A, a chemical that allows them to modify their vision to see infrared light regardless of environmental changes.

A bullfrog’s eyesight, unlike that of a fish, is adequate for both open air and water, allowing them to keep their infrared vision in both muddy waters and dry land. Bullfrogs’ eyes also include enzymes that allow them to see in the air and on the water’s surface. This makes catching prey like flies simple.

Bloodsucking Insects

Mosquitoes and bedbugs, like other insects, forage for food by smelling carbon dioxide gas that animals and humans breath.

Mosquitoes and bedbugs, on the other hand, can use their infrared vision to pick up thermal signals and detect body heat from potential warm-blooded hosts in order to bite.


Salmons, piranhas, goldfish, and cichlids have enzymes that activate their visual systems, allowing them to see red and infrared light. When salmon travel from open salty oceans to muddy freshwaters, for example, enzymes change their vision, allowing them to see more clearly. This adaption aids them in navigating and hunting in unfamiliar terrain.

Similarly, freshwater fish such as cichlids and piranhas can sense far-red light, which is the light spectrum range that precedes infrared light. Goldfish, on the other hand, can sense both far-red light and UV rays at the same time.

Why do Cats Chase Laser Pointers?

Most cat owners have tried flashing a laser pointer at their cats to see how far they will chase it.

They’ll usually chase it from the ground up the wall and as far as they can. ‘Why are cats so interested in laser pointers?’ is a typical question.

For your cat, a laser pointer isn’t the best toy. Cats are born hunter-gatherers. When chasing anything, they are adamant about catching it.

It’s aggravating when they can’t seem to catch the pointer. Directly shining the laser into their eyes can be dangerous.

The fact that your laser pointer is moving is the only reason cats may be chasing it.

It appears like anything that moves away from your cat is prey. They have an inherent desire to pursue their prey.

Find a real toy for your cat if it enjoys chasing. Despite the fact that chasing is entertaining, your cat should be able to catch it.

It can be aggravating if your cat spends too much time chasing laser pointers. It may, over time, direct the bottled-up rage elsewhere.

Laser lights are considered to be relatively safe. Don’t worry if they end up in your cat’s eyes by accident.

However, you should not allow a cat to stare at a laser for an extended period of time.

A laser pointer is perceived differently by cats than it is perceived by humans. Their eyes aren’t the same as ours.

Because their eyes aren’t as sensitive to red as ours, they don’t see it the same way we do. It could appear to them as a dull yellow or white color. Cat eyes are not connected to their brains in the same way that human eyes are.

As a result, they are more susceptible to movement.

Finally, cats do not possess infrared vision. Infrared is only visible to cold-blooded animals. Vampire bats, frogs, and snakes are among them. Their skin, on the other hand, has sensitive heat sensors that sense heated regions.

Species with diverse vision have different forms of vision. Humans have evolved over time to perceive in as much clarity and detail as possible.

Cats, on the other hand, do not have the same level of visual detail, resolution, or clarity as humans. They are nearsighted and have limited color vision, even though they can see well in the dark.


Despite the fact that cats see well in the dark, they do not have the same visual capacity or clarity as humans. Cat-versions of environments, in other words, appear less vivid and enticing than human-versions.

That doesn’t mean you should disregard or assume your cat’s eye health. Test its visual capacity because it’s already fuzzy and could deteriorate further, reducing eyesight or resulting in blindness.

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