Can Cats See Infrared?

Can Cats See Infrared?

Cats are famous for having a superior sense of smell but quite inferior and blurry vision compared to humans. On the other hand, they make up for it by having a better peripheral vision of 200 degrees while humans only have 180 degrees. They are also keen on picking up subtle light changes and movements and have great night vision. 

Can cats see infrared?

No, cats cannot see infrared. They have superior night vision but they do not have infrared vision. However, they have sensitive heat receptors in their skin that allow them to seek out warm patches to sleep at. Interestingly, many cold-blooded animals like amphibians, snakes, insects, frogs and fish have the ability to see infrared. 

Infrared or infrared light is electromagnetic radiation and invisible to the human eye since its wavelengths are longer than those of visible light. However, it can be detected as heat. For instance, a typical remote control uses infrared light waves beyond the visible spectrum of light.  

Cats may have some limited ability to see near-infrared under artificial conditions. Also, cats respond to an infrared laser pointer by trying to catch the dot but they may only be attracted more to the movement being made as opposed to the color red which is not in their color spectrum. 

Aside from having good night vision, cats have six to eight times more rod cells that are more sensitive to low light as compared to humans. Felines have elliptical eye shape and their larger corneas and tapetum, the layer of tissue that reflects light to the retina, gather more light. The extra rod cells allow cats to sense motion in the dark as opposed to humans. Also, cat experts believe that a cat’s color vision is limited to blues and grays similar to dogs but with less saturation and richness of colors

Does red light bother cats?

No, red light used in red light therapy does not seem to bother cats since infrared Led or laser light has a low heat output and their eyes are not sensitive to red wavelengths. 

What light can cats see?

Cats can detect ultraviolet radiation, unlike humans.  Their eyes do not have lenses to filter out ultraviolet light as humans do. 

Do cats see in color or black and white?

Cats see in color although they can see less compared to humans who can see the colors of the rainbow. They can see red, green and blue but they cannot perceive red, pink and purple as humans do. Thus, your cat sees red and pink as the same color just the same as with purple and blue. 

According to scientists, cats are trichromats which means that they have three kinds of cones in their eyes that allow them to see red, blue and green. The cones are the ones responsible for color vision and work best in bright light. Color is detected by the nerve cells in the retina and rods are responsible for vision in low light. 

Cats have six to eight times more rod cells compared to humans which is why they have superb night vision. Their extra rod cells enable them to sense motion in the dark which is an advantage when hunting prey. 


Cats have excellent night vision but they can only see certain colors such as red, green and blue. They cannot see infrared. Infrared is electromagnetic radiation that is invisible to both humans and cats since the wavelengths are longer than visible light. 

Image: / Recebin