What Colors Do Cats Like? Your Feline Friend’s Vision

Introduction: Why Understanding Cat Vision Matters

Cats are fascinating creatures with unique behaviors and senses. Among these, their vision has always intrigued pet owners and researchers alike. Understanding what colors cats like is more than a quirky curiosity—it’s a key to improving their environment, enhancing their playtime, and strengthening the bond between you and your feline friend. In a world where we often cater to human perceptions, acknowledging how our pets see can help us create a more harmonious living space for them.

Do Cats See in Color?

How Cats Perceive Color Compared to Humans

Understanding how cats perceive color requires delving into the differences between feline and human vision. Humans have three types of cone cells in their eyes, which allow them to see a wide spectrum of colors, including reds, blues, and greens. This trichromatic vision enables us to distinguish millions of color variations.

Cats, on the other hand, have dichromatic vision. They possess only two types of cone cells, which limits their color perception. This means that while they can see some colors, their vision is not as rich or varied as ours. Specifically, cats can see blues and greens quite well, but they have difficulty distinguishing between reds and pinks. These colors likely appear more muted or even grayish to them.

What Colors Are Cats Attracted To?

Are Cats Attracted to Certain Colors?

Cats do appear to have preferences for certain colors, likely due to their visual capabilities. Studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that cats are more attracted to blue and green hues. These colors are within their perceptual range and stand out more clearly against their environment.

Why These Preferences?

The preference for blue and green can be attributed to how these colors appear more vividly to cats compared to reds and pinks. Here are a few reasons why these colors might be more appealing:

  1. Visibility: Blue and green objects are easier for cats to distinguish. This can make toys, food bowls, and other items in these colors more visually interesting and engaging.
  2. Nature’s Palette: In the wild, many of the colors cats encounter are in the blue and green spectrum—like the foliage and water sources. This natural inclination might make these colors more familiar and comforting.
  3. Behavioral Responses: Cats often respond to movement more than color. However, when colors are involved, those that are easier to see can make the moving object (like a toy) more captivating.

Real-World Observations:

  • Toys: Many cat toys are designed in bright colors, particularly blues and greens, to catch a cat’s attention and encourage play.
  • Feeding Accessories: Using blue or green food bowls can help them locate their food more easily, especially in low-light conditions.
  • Resting Areas: Cats might find resting areas with blue or green blankets or cushions more inviting due to the soothing nature of these colors in their visual spectrum.

Anecdotal Evidence:

Many cat owners notice that their pets show a preference for toys and objects in these colors. For instance, a cat might consistently choose a blue ball over a red one, or show more interest in a green feather toy.

Can Cats Distinguish Between Colors?

Cats can distinguish between some colors, but their color vision is not as developed as that of humans. Research has shown that cats have a more limited range of color perception due to the structure of their eyes. They possess two types of cone cells (dichromatic vision), which are sensitive to blue and green wavelengths but not to red wavelengths. Here are some key findings from studies on feline color vision:

Color Perception Range

Cats can see blues and greens relatively well. These colors appear more vibrant to them compared to reds and pinks, which may look more like shades of gray or brown.

Research conducted by scientists such as Gordon Walls in the mid-20th century confirmed that cats lack the red-sensitive cone cells that humans have, leading to their inability to distinguish between red and green.

Behavioral Experiments

Experiments involving cats’ responses to colored lights or objects have shown that they can differentiate between blue and green, but struggle with colors in the red spectrum. For example, a study published in the Journal of Physiology in 1967 by R.H. Loop and H.K. Hartline demonstrated that cats responded differently to various wavelengths of light, confirming their dichromatic vision.

Practical Observations

In real-world settings, cats tend to respond more to the movement of objects rather than their color. However, when color is a factor, blue and green objects are more likely to catch their attention.

Do Different Cat Breeds Have Different Color Preferences?

The question of whether different cat breeds have distinct color preferences is intriguing, but current research suggests that color preferences are more related to individual cats rather than specific breeds. Here’s a closer look at what we know:

Genetic Similarities

All domestic cats, regardless of breed, have similar eye structures and therefore similar color vision capabilities. This means that the basic limitations in color perception are consistent across breeds.

Individual Preferences

While breed-specific differences in behavior and personality are well-documented, there is little scientific evidence to suggest significant variation in color preferences among different breeds. Individual cats may show preferences based on their unique experiences and environments rather than their breed.

Owner Observations

Many cat owners report anecdotal evidence of their pets showing preferences for certain colors. These observations are valuable but tend to reflect individual differences rather than breed-specific traits. For example, a Siamese cat and a Maine Coon may both prefer blue toys, but this preference is likely due to the color being more visually stimulating to cats in general rather than a breed-specific trait.

How Do Colors Affect a Cat’s Mood or Behavior?

While the influence of color on human emotions is well-documented, its impact on cats is less understood. However, some observations and studies provide insight into how colors might affect a cat’s mood and behavior:

Calming Effects

Blues and Greens

These colors are within the spectrum that cats can see clearly and are often associated with calm and relaxation. Blue and green hues can create a soothing environment, potentially reducing stress and anxiety in cats. This is similar to how these colors can have a calming effect on humans.

Stimulating Effects

Bright Colors

While cats might not perceive bright colors like red and orange in the same way humans do, brightly colored objects can still be stimulating due to their contrast with the environment. Movement, rather than color alone, is more likely to engage a cat’s interest, but contrasting colors can enhance this effect.

Environment and Enrichment

Providing a variety of colors within a cat’s environment can contribute to their mental stimulation. For instance, a mix of blue and green toys, along with different textures and shapes, can keep a cat engaged and entertained.

Are There Colors That Cats Dislike or Are Afraid Of?

There is no concrete evidence that specific colors inherently evoke fear or negative reactions in cats. However, some observations suggest that certain factors related to color can influence a cat’s response:

High Contrast and Brightness

1. Bright, High-Contrast Colors

While cats might not perceive these colors vividly, high contrast can be startling. For instance, a brightly colored object moving suddenly in a cat’s field of vision might startle them, not because of the color itself but due to the sudden movement and high contrast.

2. Associative Learning

Cats may develop negative associations with certain colors based on past experiences. If a cat has had a frightening or unpleasant experience with an object of a particular color, it may react negatively to that color in the future. This reaction is more about the association than the color itself.

3. Lack of Interest

Colors outside of the blue and green spectrum may simply be less engaging for cats. They might not necessarily dislike these colors but may show indifference toward them. For instance, red and pink objects might not stand out, leading to less interaction.

Practical Tips for Cat Owners

1. Observe Your Cat

Pay attention to your cat’s reactions to different colored toys and objects. Notice if they seem more interested in certain colors or if any colors appear to cause avoidance or disinterest.

2. Create a Calming Environment

Incorporate blues and greens in areas where you want your cat to feel calm and relaxed, such as their sleeping or resting areas.

3. Avoid Overstimulation

Be mindful of introducing too many bright, high-contrast objects at once, as this might overwhelm or startle your cat. Balance is key to creating a comfortable environment.

Using Colors to Enrich Your Cat’s Environment

Enriching a cat’s environment with the right colors can make a significant difference in their overall well-being. Here are some tips and suggestions for using colors effectively:

1. Play Areas

Toys: Choose toys in blue and green hues. These colors are more likely to catch your cat’s attention and stimulate play. Interactive toys, such as balls, feather wands, and puzzle feeders in these colors, can keep your cat engaged and active.

Cat Trees and Scratching Posts: Opt for cat trees, scratching posts, and climbing structures that incorporate blue and green fabrics or accents. This can make these items more inviting and encourage your cat to use them regularly.

2. Feeding Areas

Food Bowls and Mats: Use blue or green food and water bowls. These colors are more visible to cats and can make mealtime more appealing. Placing the bowls on a blue or green mat can help keep the area tidy and visually appealing to your cat.

3. Resting and Sleeping Areas

Bedding: Provide beds, blankets, or cushions in calming colors like blue and green. These colors can create a serene environment, promoting relaxation and better sleep for your cat.

Hideaways: Cats love cozy hideaways. Consider cat tunnels, tents, or covered beds in these colors to make them more inviting and comforting.

4. General Environment

Décor: If possible, incorporate blue and green elements in your cat’s favorite areas. This could be through rugs, pillows, or even wall art. Creating a visually stimulating yet calming environment can enhance your cat’s overall sense of well-being.

Outdoor Spaces: If your cat has access to a catio or an enclosed outdoor area, incorporate plants with blue and green foliage. This can make the space more interesting and natural for your cat.

Specific Color Toys and Accessories That Cats Prefer

Based on their visual capabilities, here are some recommendations for toys, bedding, and accessories that can appeal to your cat:

1. Toys

Blue and Green Balls: Simple rubber or felt balls in these colors can be very engaging for cats.

Feather Toys: Feather wands or teasers with blue and green feathers can be more attractive to your cat, encouraging active play and exercise.

Interactive Toys: Puzzle toys or treat dispensers in blue and green can stimulate your cat’s mind and keep them entertained for longer periods.

2. Bedding and Resting Spots

Cushions and Blankets: Choose soft, comfortable bedding in calming shades of blue and green. Look for materials that are easy to clean and maintain.

Cat Beds: Invest in high-quality cat beds that incorporate these colors. Options like window perches or heated beds can provide comfort while visually appealing to your cat.

3. Feeding Accessories

Food and Water Bowls: Stainless steel or ceramic bowls in blue or green can make mealtime more enjoyable for your cat. Ensure the bowls are appropriately sized for your cat’s needs.

Feeding Mats: Use non-slip feeding mats in complementary colors to keep the feeding area clean and visually appealing.

Can Color Influence a Cat’s Food Choices?

The color of a cat’s food bowl or the packaging of their food can potentially influence their appetite, although this effect is more subtle compared to other factors such as the food’s aroma and texture. Here’s how color might play a role:

1. Food Bowl Color

Visibility: Cats can see blues and greens more clearly than reds and pinks. Using bowls in these colors can make the food more visible and potentially more appealing. If the bowl color contrasts well with the food, it can help cats see their meal more clearly, which might encourage them to eat.

Calming Effect: Blue and green bowls might create a calming feeding environment. Since these colors can have a soothing effect, they might help reduce anxiety and make cats more comfortable during mealtime.

2. Packaging Color

Attraction: While cats primarily rely on their sense of smell rather than sight when it comes to food, brightly colored packaging might catch their owner’s attention more than the cat’s. Owners might be more likely to purchase food with appealing packaging, thereby influencing the cat’s diet indirectly.

Associative Learning: Cats can form associations between the appearance of packaging and the food inside. If a cat consistently enjoys food from a particular package, they might become excited when they see that packaging, regardless of the color.

Are There Any Myths or Misconceptions About Cats and Color?

Several myths and misconceptions exist regarding cats and their perception of color. Let’s clarify some of the most common ones:


Cats See in Black and White

Reality: Cats do not see the world in black and white. They have dichromatic vision, meaning they can see blues and greens but have difficulty distinguishing between reds and pinks. Their color vision is similar to that of a person with red-green color blindness.

Cats Are Completely Indifferent to Color

Reality: While cats rely more on their sense of smell and motion detection, they do have color preferences. Blues and greens are more engaging for them because these colors stand out in their visual spectrum.

Color Has No Effect on a Cat’s Behavior

Reality: Color can have subtle effects on a cat’s behavior and mood. For example, blue and green can be calming, while high-contrast colors might stimulate interest in toys or objects.


Cats Can See All Colors Like Humans

Reality: Unlike humans, who have trichromatic vision (seeing a wide range of colors), cats have dichromatic vision. This limits their color perception, making reds and pinks appear more grayish to them. They see blues and greens more vividly.


Understanding what colors cats like opens up new ways to cater to their needs and preferences. By recognizing that cats see the world differently than we do, we can make more informed choices about their environment, leading to happier, more engaged pets. As you experiment with colors, pay attention to your cat’s reactions and continue to explore what works best for them. This knowledge not only enhances their quality of life but also strengthens the bond you share with your furry friend.