Can Cats See TV?

Can Cats See TV?

Yes, cats do see TV and while there have been no concrete studies on whether cats do have a clear view and understanding of the images,  it appears that cats can identify images on modern TVs and mobile devices. It has been widely observed that cats track and may also chase images that they see on TV.  Felines also react to images on TV much the same way as they would with live prey that they see outside the window like birds and rodents. 

It is interesting to note that cats process images at a rate of about 70 to 80 Hz compared to humans who can do it at around 45 Hz. This indicates that their brains move faster than the TV and while humans normally see a solid picture, cats see it as flickering which they find interesting and intriguing.  This may be one of the reasons why cats stare into the TV intently. 

Do cats see TV images in color?

Yes, cats see the images on TV in color but not all colors. They may see a fuller range of colors especially the blue, green and yellow spectrums but they see very little of the reds. The cones in their eyes are responsible for this since they pick up and process colors. Nevertheless, humans have more cones which is why we see colors better than cats do. 

Interestingly, cats have a wealth of rods in their eyes which are responsible for peripheral and night vision, brightness and shades of gray. Cats may view images on TV as flickering and much brighter compared to what humans see but they cannot appreciate all of the color nuances. Scientists also note that a cat’s vision is comparable to a desaturated photograph where colors are present but the reds are desaturated.  Felines are also near-sighted and while they can see up to 120 feet away around 40% cannot see within a foot of their noses. 

You may also check out our earlier article on do cats see in color or black and white for more insightful details. 

What else makes TV captivating for cats aside from seeing it?

Cats can also hear the TV which makes it more captivating, aside from the pictures and moving images that they can see. While TV appeals to the sense of sight, the sounds also make up for the entire experience.  A cat’s sense of hearing is impressive and they can distinguish sounds more than humans and dogs do. They can hear higher-pitched sounds of up to 64 kHz that is more or less 1.6 octaves above the range of humans and one octave above the canine range.

Aside from the sounds, cats are also captivated by the movements since the images on TV are moving.  However, this may pose a problem since cats are natural hunters and the movements may unleash the predatory instinct in them. Thus, they may pursue it resulting in damage to your TV screen. It is essential to keep an eye on your cats if you allow them to watch TV to make sure that she behaves well. 

Why your cat does not feel threatened when they see cats on TV?

Your cat will not feel threatened or fearful when she sees cats on TV because there is no scent. She may be able to recognize the outlines and shapes to be belonging to her own kind but there won’t be any negative or adverse reactions since there is no way to identify what they see on TV. Cats use their sense of smell to identify the scents of animals but with a TV there is an absence of this so they will not act aggressive, upset or agitated. 


Cats are smart and inquisitive. They are curious about their humans and may also try to mimic what they do such as watching TV. Cats do see TV and they can identify the images on it as well as the colors.  However, they cannot appreciate the entire color nuances as they see very little of the reds. Felines also find the TV captivating because of the sounds and movements but they do not react negatively and feel threatened due to the absence of scents.