Ask any group of feline fanatics who can see better – dogs or cats – and you’re likely to get a unanimous answer. Cats, of course! However, ask the same question of dog lovers and you’re likely to get, “Well, you’ve never seen a seeing-eye cat, have you?” While the answer to this question may never be completely satisfactory for either group, the fact is, both cats and dogs see way better than humans, and each has its own distinct advantages that influence how the animal interacts with its surroundings.
How Much can Fido and Fluffy See?
When it comes to field of vision, both dogs and cats can see quite a bit. Unlike prey animals such as the rabbit who has eyes on either side of its head, Fido and Fluffy , who are predator animals, have eyes positioned on the front of the face, which allows them a longer depth perception and binocular vision. However, in this competition the dogs take an early lead because they can see a full 240 degrees when looking straight ahead, while cats can only see about 200.
If we must measure a dog or cat’s visual acuity in the same way as humans, we’re going to have to award the points to the cats in this round. Although both animals are rather far-sighted, the average acuity for a cat is somewhere between 20/100 and 20/200, while a dog’s acuity is about 20/75. This far-sightedness allows both animals to see their prey from far away. As a matter of fact, dogs can even see strong hand signals from as far away as a mile!
Poor Fido and Fluffy, though. With such a strong sense of sight for the far away, they both have trouble seeing things any closer than ten inches. Instead of focus, dogs and cats both rely on movement to help them identify and follow things up close. You may have noticed Fluffy stalking something in the grass. It may appear he loses it for a second, but when it moves, he’s got it!
Let There be Light
The cats have it in this category of the competition. While both dog and cat pupils contract to limit the amount of light that enters the eye, cats have a complex figure eight muscle that closes the pupil to nothing but a slit. This feline feature requires just 1/6th the amount of light necessary for the human eye to see at night. Dog eyes, on the other hand, are only about half as efficient as cat eyes, but still much better at using light than our human eyes.
There are many factors that go into how well a dog or cat sees. Does one see better than the other – it’s hard to say because each species’ eyes are perfectly suited to help the animal do its job well. The only thing we’re sure of is that both dogs and cats see much better than us humans, no doubt about it!
[Image 1] [ Image 2 – Thinkstock]