Do Cats See Red?

Do cats see red and other colors?
© Ermolaev Alexandr
Dear Thomasina...
I was wearing red socks the other day, and my cat went crazy and attacked my foot. Do cats see red?
-- Bruised

Hey Bruised!
Ouch! I'm sorry your cat attacked your foot. He must have been very confused about something. But I don't think he literally saw red and freaked out.

In answer to your question, cats don't really see red. Our world is lovely pastel shades -- we see colors in the
purple, blue, green and yellow ranges. But we lack the cones in our eyes to see red, orange and brown. To us, they appear in shades of gray, although we can sometimes tell the 
difference between red and green, red and blue, red and gray, green and blue, green and gray, blue and gray, yellow and blue and yellow and gray.

Why Cats Don't See Red

Really, seeing colors isn't all that useful to us. A mouse is a mouse, no matter what color it is. And since we're most active after dark, almost everything appears in shades of gray.

We do enjoy looking at a variety of colors, though. And we appreciate dishes, toys and cat beds in pretty colors we can see. I love my bright green bed and purple catnip mouse!

Our human wrote an article about how cats see the world. Read it if you have time. It's interesting.

It's possible that you startled your cat when you were walking by, and he got scared and attacked when he saw a big foot coming in his direction. You can avoid this by saying his name as you're approaching so he knows for sure those feet belong to you.

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