Cats May See Things That Are Invisible to Us
Dogs and reindeer, too
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2014 6:45 AM CST
These eyes may see things you can't.   (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito/File)

(Newser) – If you saw the world through the eyes of your pet, you'd very likely be seeing a lot more than you currently do. That according to new research that has found that cats, dogs, and select other animals may be able to see things that are invisible to the human eye. That's because they're able to see UV light, according to a paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. While we've known for a century that many invertebrates (Discovery News gives bees as an example) see UV, it has long been assumed that the majority of mammals had lenses like our own, which block UV from reaching the retina, says study co-author Ronald Douglas.

The researchers came to a new conclusion by reviewing the eyes of dead mammals, then measuring how much light passed through the lens to the retina. LiveScience reports some animals' lenses permitted some UV light to pass through, indicating they can detect UV. As for what they're privy to that we're not, it's both appetizing and not: patterns on flowers that reveal the presence of nectar, and a urine-marked landscape. Those sights would be put to good use: The urine trails could signal the presence of prey, for instance. As far as predators go, reindeer are able to see polar bears against snow when a human might not, as snow reflects UV, and white fur doesn't, explains Douglas. So add reindeer to the list, along with rodents, hedgehogs, bats, ferrets, and okapis. (In other animal news, an ancient dog graveyard has been unearthed.)

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Showing 3 of 75 comments
Mar 9, 2014 10:55 AM CDT
Anyone who has watched their cat stare at the wall for hours would find this totally believable.
Feb 20, 2014 8:52 AM CST
Can you tell if they can see all those supposed jobs Obama has saved or created, if so.... can they lead us to them.
Feb 20, 2014 12:17 AM CST
Cats see and understand far more than you realize.