Have you ever watched your Dog or Cat pay attention to something that was not there, wondering what they were looking at?
Well, there is a reason.
According to a new study, cats, dogs, and other mammals can see through ultraviolet light. That opens up a whole different world than the one we see, the study explains.
UV light is the wave length beyond the visible light from red to violet that humans can see. Humans have a lens that blocks UV from reaching the retina. It was previously thought that most mammals have lenses similar to humans.
Scientists studied the lenses of dead mammals, including cats, dogs, monkeys, pandas, hedgehogs, eagles and ferrets.
By researching how much light passes through the lens to reach the retina, they concluded that some mammals previously thought not to be able to see UV actually can.
“Nobody ever thought these animals could see in ultraviolet, but in fact, they do,” Ron Douglas, the study leader and a biologist at City University London, England, told LiveScience.
If you swapped your eyes for an eagle’s, you could see a fly on a hot dog from the roof of a 10-story building. Objects directly in your line of sight would appear magnified, and everything would be brilliantly colored, rendered in an inconceivable array of shades.
They see colors as more vivid than we do, can discriminate between more shades, and they too can also see ultraviolet light. That ability helps them detect the UV-reflecting urine trails of small prey.
But there’s no way to know what these extra colors, including ultraviolet, look like.
William Hodos, professor at the University of Maryland, who has studied the visual acuity of birds since the 1970s states:
“Suppose you wanted to describe the color of a tomato to someone who was born blind. You couldn’t do it. We can’t even guess what they’re subjective sensation of ultraviolet light is.”
Incredible. I knew my cat really did see something.