Humans can see only a small strip of the entire electromagnetic field; from infrared to ultraviolet, the human perception is able to glance only at a small portion of it all. Cats, on the other hand have evolved to be able to perceive not only more of the spectrum, but because of the extra layers of radiation that reaches their retinas, they can also see a lot better in the dark.
Ultraviolet light, the light that is emitted, for instance, by a remote controller, is one type of light that cats can see without any straining; this light however is not only produced by our electronic devices, but it is abundant in the rays of the Sun. The light then bounces off of certain plants and flower petals, and cats can see these stripes. Therefore, a cat is capable of seeing when a flower has nectar, as do bees, by perceiving these extra layers of radiation.
Cats are not alone in the realm of UV light detection; bees and reindeer too can see this light, which they use effectively for their survival; bees for instance will not visit a flower that has yet to produce nectar, thus wasting less energy while “at work.” Whereas reindeer can better spot predators, such as the polar bear fur, even when, to our eyes, a bear’s white fur is no more different than the snowy surroundings that they live in. Dogs too can sense ultraviolet light, which helps them hunt prey and thus survive.
One very interesting fact about UV light detection in cats and other animals is their eyes are not different than our eyes; there are no detectors on the retina that are specialized in seeing a certain type of light. However, the corneas of humans and other animals that can’t perceive UV have developed to absorb this type of light; the evolutionary reason of this “impairment” is that UV light can be damaging to the retina, and so, a lot of animals as well as humans have developed a cornea that won’t allow this type of light to enter the eye. Therefore, some people, generally those that have undergone cornea replacement surgeries lose this natural barrier and will see UV light too, a “superpower’ that brings them close to being cat-like!
But seeing the unseen and in the dark is not the only thing cats have that we don’t. Cats can also taste meat… better! While cats (as well as dogs) can’t taste sweet, they can however taste a certain chemical that is present in meat that we don’t. This umami taste of the feline world makes them appreciate better the energetic content of their foods. On the other hand, not being able to sense sweetness impairs them in being able to sense when they’ve had too much sugar, which can lead to diabetes and other issues. So, try and keep your feline friend away from sweets; they can’t even tell when they’re having a sugar rush!
Also, it seems that cats can also sense disturbances in the electromagnetic field, which alerts them to potential earthquakes. However, studies have failed to show how this 6th sense works, as, in contrast to pigeons, cats don’t seem to have no magnetite in any part of their bodies, as pigeons do in their beaks.
Cats also have an amazing sense of proprioception, and specifically of balance. The myth that cats have 9 lives and that they always land on their paws while a myth does indeed draw some truth from reality. Combined with their flexible bodies, cats can turn 180 degrees in mid air. And, with the aid of their tails, they are great acrobats! Therefore, cats can see better than us, they can taste meat better, they seem to be able to predict earthquakes and they land on their feet almost always. Yes, the reason why they were considered gods in ancient Egypt should no longer surprise you – they are so much better than us!
And, to continue our genuine, good-hearted admiration of the feline species… a funny cat video. Enjoy!