Why cats have slit eyes

Apparently we now know why cats have slit eyes:

Almost all animals with multifocal lenses have slit pupils, which help them to make the most of their unique lens, according to the paper. This is because, even when contracted, a slit pupil lets an animal use the full diameter of the lens, spanning all the concentric refractive zones, allowing for all colours to be sharply focused.

When round pupils, such as those in human eyes, constrict, they cover the outer refractive rings of the lens, preventing the focusing of certain colours.

I used to be creeped out by cat eyes, back when I was more a dog sort of person. I wonder how much of the dislike for cats by some people is due to their alien-looking eyes.

But, once again, they just turn out to be better designed creatures than dogs.

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5 responses to “Why cats have slit eyes

  1. Designed? Cue the creationists in 3…2…1…

    If anything it’s dogs that could be said to have been designed—by humans, that is. Modern day pooches bare little physical resemblance to their ancestors even 1000 years ago thanks to selective breeding. Many breeds also inherit serious medical conditions because of what they were selected for: smaller, bigger, shorter, longer, furrier, hairless, folded skin, big ears, shorter tails, hunting, petting, showing off…

    While there has been human selection on cats as well it’s nowhere near as extreme as what we’ve done to dogs. They’re much closer to how they evolved before humans domesticated them than dogs are.

    Perhaps that’s why some people don’t like cats: they’re more instinctual than dogs tend to be. You can’t train them, unless you’re training them to run and hide when they see the shampoo bottle and hear the laundry tub filling.

  2. I can’t get my head around cat haters, I think they are one of the most aesthetically appealing forms in the animal kingdom. I’m a dog person but I’m also very fond of cats.

    “You can’t train them, ”

    You can it’s difficult though, dogs are social animals like us, they understand hierarchies, cats don’t.

  3. I might have over-generalised a bit about not being able to train them, but not by much ;-)

    Cats also understand hierarchies, they just put themselves at the top! Actually, it’s just more of a relative hierarchy, where who’s in charge depends on time, place, and circumstances. It’s like working with your flatmate: at work they might be your boss and get to order you around, but at home you control the TV remote.

  4. Thanks for this. As a cat lover, I have always known they were superior and my cat never passes up an opportunity to remind me. Now he and I have the scientific evidence to prove it!

  5. “But, once again, they just turn out to be better designed creatures than dogs.”

    They’re visual hunters, you could take a dogs eyes out and it wouldn’t make much of a difference to the dog, they are all nose (and ears).

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