How Cats See the World

November 21, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. ophthalmologist [of-thuhl-MOL-uh-jist] (n.) – a doctor who specializes in eye diseases and their treatment
Example: Two ophthalmologists operated on my mother’s eyes and restored her vision.

2. feline [FEE-lahyn] (adj.) – pertaining to cats
Example: My sister decided to specialize on feline diseases because of her love for cats.

3. field of vision [feeld ov VIZH-uhn] (n. phrase) – the entire view seen by the eyes when looking in one particular direction
Example: According to the motorcycle driver, he does not like wearing a helmet because it reduces his field of vision.

4. washed-out [WOSHT-out] (adj.) – faded or lacking in color
Example: She complained that the screen on her phone was not very sharp and the colors looked washed-out.

5. acuity [uh-KYOO-i-tee] (n.) – the ability to see or hear something clearly and easily
Example:  Old people usually suffer from a decrease in visual acuity.


Read the text below.

Nickolay Lamm, an artist from the US, illustrated how cats see the world as compared with how the humans do.

Lamm’s latest project aims to show how the world looks like in a cat’s point of view. In this project, Lamm consulted several veterinarians and ophthalmologists to create a collection of images showing the differences between human vision and feline vision.

The images went viral shortly after they were published online. The images show that cats have a 200-degree field of vision, which is wider than the 180-degree visual field of humans. This difference means that cats have a significantly wider view of their surroundings than humans do.

Cats also see colors differently. Based on Lamm’s images, feline vision looks washed-out and less vibrant compared with human vision. According to researchers, cats are only able to see the colors blue, violet, yellow, and a bit of green.

Another difference is in visual acuity. While humans are able to clearly see objects up to 200 feet away, cats can only see these things up to 20 feet away. Beyond this distance, the objects will start to lose detail and look blurry.

Lastly, cats can see six to eight times better than humans in low light. This dissimilarity is because human eyes have more cone cells which are good for seeing colors and detail during the day, while cats have more rod cells which gives them better night vision and allows them to pick up tiny movements even in low light.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think it is important for cats to see well at night? Why or why not?
·         Based on Nickolay Lamm’s project, which do you think is better: human vision or cat vision? Explain.

Discussion B

·         Do you think that the sense of sight is the most important of the five senses? Why or why not?
·         In your opinion, how can people take better care of their eyesight?


November 21, 2013