Interesting Facts

Can Cats See Phone Screens?

Cat looking at the phone screen
Written by Clair Chesterman

We all know that like any other animals, cats see differently compared to humans and it is related to seeing screens as well. In recent years, the use of smartphones has been increasing and we watch lots of videos including cute animal videos through our phone screens. We also use our smartphones to browse about important subject matters and other times, we use them to phone our loved ones via a video call. Furthermore, some cat owners may show their cats a couple of pictures or videos that may hopefully interest their cats through their cell phone screens or other times, other cat owners even try to have a video call with them when they are away from home. However, the big questions are: can cats see phone screens? What do cats see while looking at a phone screen? Do they recognize their owners through the screen? Let us try to find out. 

What Colors Do Cats See?

Colors that cats can see on the phone

It is known that cats are able to see the color blue better rather than the colors red, yellow, and green, and any other colors, and this helps them see and watch on our smartphone screens or TVs. This means they are colorblind when seeing red to yellow to green spectrums but can see the blue spectrum good enough. Most of the screens that we watch through emit blue light therefore cats will surely be able to pick up colors dancing around our digital screens. 

Animals cannot see light as humans do but they can see better and more lights than dogs can and it is therefore highly likely that they can better perceive what is going on in our smartphone screens. 

How Cats See The Screens Vs. Human

What cats see vs. human

There may be times when some cat owners might have observed their cats looking at their phone or watching the TV from time to time especially when there may be something interesting that might have caught their attention. Cats much like dogs see things on screens very differently from what humans do. Dogs do not see colors like humans do but they see the moving objects or images on the screens differently. Cats on the other hand would see what looks like desaturated photographs with the colors till being there and seen however the red, yellow, and green spectrums would all look desaturated. 

Cats are also able to see at a faster rate more than us, humans, so the screens flicker for their eyes. Humans can process images at about 45 hz while cats can process them at around 70 to 80 Hz, and this is why the screens flicker for them while we are able to watch clear and solid videos. 

Therefore, while humans can enjoy all the wonderful colors being shown on screen, cats may still appreciate such moving images but not as much as we would. 

Can Cats Recognize Their Owners From The Screen?

Cat can't recognize the owner from the phone screen

I think that this is the question that most cat owners would like an answer to: “can my cat recognize me in a photo or video or video calls?” The unfortunate truth is, for cats, it might be just the same as any other image or faces they see all around them and this is based on a study by researchers from the University of Texas and Pennsylvania State University. In that study, the researchers showed photos of faces of humans, and the cats were only able to recognize their owner only about 54% of the time but were able to recognize other cats in those photos around 91% of the time, which is still pretty impressive albeit not the result that we truly wanted. 


Science does not completely comprehend how a cat’s mind works however the perseverance of researchers to study and observe cats and other animals as well has lead to different studies that can help inform us at least about their behavior and other characteristics such as how cats see color, if cats can see our phone screens, and if they can recognize their owners through photos and video calls. 

And today we have learned that they may be able to see a limited color spectrum, which is blue, but the red to green spectrum is not as good as they see blues. This means that they may appreciate moving objects or images on our smartphone screens but they will not be able to recognize the faces of their owners on photos shown to them. Therefore, try not to get disappointed whenever you try to have a video call with your cat and they just ignore you through the screen. 

READ ALSO: Best Cat GPS Trackers That Specifically Designed for Cats

About the author

Clair Chesterman

Clair is a professional cat breeder having her own cageless CFA and CCA Registered cattery & fostering company FluffyMeowPaws in Eugene, Oregon. Clair knows everything about multiple cat breeds and how to use the latest technologies to make the cat's life better.

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