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Does my cat have a vision problem?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I can't decide if my cat has a vision problem or he isn't so clever when it comes to chasing things we throw for him.

Most of his toys are big, suck as toy mice and such. But, he has several favorite pieces of plastic he insists are great fun (such as rings from the milk bottle and tops from juice cartons). We find that often when we throw these small pieces of plastic (which generally are brightly colored) that unless it makes a noise or he was looking in the right direction, he can't seem to find it. He has even been known to go looking for where it went in the wrong direction or walk directly over it and not notice it.

Do you think he can't see them very well or is he a bit brainless due to being hyper and playful?
post #2 of 9
Well, I can't tell if you are playing outside or inside. I think your kitty is very playful and bright -- and quite normal! Some cats, if not all, are color-blind with certain hues. For instance, my Sasha is a very experienced outdoor cat and he loves to stalk things. He can see a tiny frog from feet away - a tiny green frog in the green grass. But when I play with him on the kitchen floor which is black/white squares, his eyes don't pick up the bottle top at all. He just sits and stares and I think something is wrong. If he is responding well to other stimuli and healthy, I wouldn't worry too much and leave it as a glitch in the way he's processing....but other than that, yes, your vet can determine this on a further level if it's really bothersome.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
He is an indoor cat so far as he has shown no interest at all in going outside.

I've had cats all my life and didn't know that they are color blind to some colors. That might explain it!
post #4 of 9
Hans has been having the same problem lately. He can't see or hear the other three cats when they walk up behind him, and he attacks them because of it. I've always assumed it's because he's an older cat, and is starting to get cataracts and some hearing loss. (Somewhere around 14 or older. His last owners couldn't remember when or how old he was when they adopted him.) By the way, the other three are learning to meow before they walk past him, and as long as they announce their presence, Hans doesn't move a mucle.
post #5 of 9
That's endearing to read. I bet that's a slight loss of hearing and sensory perception. I've been holding my breath as the years go by for Sasha....nothing yet!
post #6 of 9
I do know that, unlike us, cats can't see stuff that's directly under their nose. I forget why tho, sorry!
post #7 of 9
There is an excellent book I highly recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about what it is like 'being a cat' and how to understand our cats better called "The Cat Whisperer" by Claire Bessant. The first chapter is entitled "A Different World" and discusses how cats see the world. Cats eyes are used in conjunction with their other senses - hearing, whisker touch, and smell - to hunt successfully. Cats in the wild often hunt in the dawn and dusk when their prey is more readily available. Cats are not able to focus on details the way we are, but are far better than we are at seeing 'motion' and use a lot more of their peripheral vision than we do. Here is a useful quote from the book that answers your above question about your cat's vision:

"cats see best at a distance of about 2 to 6.5 yards (2-6 m). Special nerve cells in the cat's brain repond to the smallest movement- an obvious advantage to a hunter. The lightening-fast feline reflexes, combined with an ability to judge distance very accurately, allow the cat to hone in on its prey with devastating speed. However, if the prey freezes - an action many prey species learn as a defense strategy - the cat may lose sight of it. If the cat has already pinpointed the little creature though, it may perform that familiar little wiggle of its bottom, which may slightly alter the stalker's view and stimulate its movement-sensitive eyes to reassess the prey's position before making its strike." (page 9) She goes on to say that cats don't see colours the way we do as this is not to their benefit when hunting in low light levels, and that they depend on their senses of hearing, smell and touch to support their vision. Your cat loses sight of his prey (toy) when it is still, unless it moves again or makes a noise. It has no real smell unless it is a catnip mouse so he can't use that to locate it either. Your kitten sounds pretty normal when you look at how he is designed to function.

Again, I highly recommend this book which is available at www.barronsedu.com (ISBN 0-7641-2165-0) as an excellent resource for its insight into understanding both the physical and emotional viewpoints of our cats.


(I hope I am not breaking any copyright rules by quoting that small paragrah because that was not the intent).

Oops - The above link doesn't work - here is one that does:
post #8 of 9
Kathryn, that must be where I got my information from as I own that book!
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
That sounds like an interesting book. I'm glad at least my cat is normal then! My husband has been baffled as to how he could be so smart and then not find the little plastic bits. It makes a lot more sense now.
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