Cats are definitely fascinating pets. As someone who has had a tabby cat for a long time, I still have many questions about their behavior. One thing that caught my attention was when I saw my cat watching TV late one evening. He was completely focused on the screen, and it almost seemed like he understood what was happening. This made me wonder if cats can really watch TV, so I decided to do some research. Here’s what I found!
So, can cats watch TV? Indeed, cats are capable of watching TV, although they perceive images differently from humans. TV images pose a challenge for cats to recognize because they process at a faster rate of 70 – 80 Hz, which is faster than what TVs display. Cats can perceive most colors, although certain shades of red appear less vibrant. Additionally, cats can distinguish various sounds, shapes, and motion on TV screens.
While some cats can watch TV like humans, it doesn’t always mean it’s a good idea. In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons why you might not want your cat to watch excessive television. We’ll also share fascinating information about cats’ TV habits and their overall vision.
Is It Bad For Your Cat To Watch TV
So here we are. It’s late at night and your furry friend is sitting close by, sitting up and engrossed in Animal Planet. Initially, it was adorable, but now you’re questioning if it’s okay for your cat to spend so many hours watching TV.
The simple answer is, no, it’s not harmful for your cat to watch TV. However, it’s a good idea to control how much TV they watch and how close they are to the screen. Cats that watch a lot of TV can’t distinguish between reality and fiction. If a show displays bugs or mice, your cat might try to pounce on the TV.
But it’s not their fault because to them, the TV might seem like a toy or something to hunt. Sadly, this can result in your TV getting scratched up or even completely broken, which is bad news for the owner.
Here are some tips you can use to let your cat watch TV without risking your valuable items.
You and your family may like watching TV, but many of us wonder if our pets can also enjoy television. After all, your cat or dog may appear to be watching the screen, but are they truly interested in what’s happening?
People who have more than one cat often wonder why one cat watches TV while another cat doesn’t seem to care.
Understanding What Your Cat Sees On The TV
There are a couple of factors that can affect how your cat engages with the TV. One of the main ones is what your cat can actually see on the TV screen. This is influenced by the age of your TV and your cat’s ability to see depth and colors.
Cats Love Newer TVs
Modern TVs now have a higher refresh rate, which makes the image on the screen change faster, giving the impression of movement.
Although it may seem like your TV is showing a genuine moving picture, the reality is that the picture is actually refreshing between a sequence of static images. Your brain is unable to perceive the individual images before a new one appears, which creates the illusion of a seamless display and smooth motion.
However, cats can see individual pictures quicker than humans. Therefore, on an older TV with a slower refresh rate, it likely appears as a sequence of flickering pictures to your cat, rather than continuous movement.
When TVs have a higher refresh rate, it makes the movement on the screen look more realistic to your cat. This can make them more interested in and better able to understand what they are watching.
Color and Depth Perception For Cats
If your cat has regular eyesight, they can see yellow, green, and blue colors and have good depth perception. This means that although they can’t see in full color like humans, the images they see are quite similar to what we see.
In comparison, dogs don’t see depth and colors as well as cats do, which could explain why your cat is more likely to find the TV interesting than your dog.
However, if a cat has only one eye, has had a bad eye infection, or has experienced other changes in their vision, they may not perceive your TV in the same way. This means they might be a bit less interested in the images, even if they can see them.
Can Your Cat Understand TV Sound?
It’s likely that your cat can hear the sounds from your TV. However, it’s unclear if the sounds sound normal to them and what volume they find most comfortable.
Cats might get a bit puzzled by the noise coming from your TV because their hearing is meant to help them find where their prey is. But, just like with framerate, newer TVs with improved sound are likely to be more convincing to them.
In any case, a cat that finds the TV intriguing is likely to also be curious about the sounds coming from it.
What Does My Cat See On The TV?
We’ve already talked about how cats have a unique way of seeing things, but there’s more to it than just perceiving colors differently on a screen.
When your cat looks at the TV, they see the pictures as individual images, even on modern TVs. Unlike humans who need at least 20 frames per second to perceive smooth and clear movement on a TV, cats would require about 100 frames per second to have a similar experience.
That doesn’t imply that the action on TV isn’t captivating. It’s more like dancing at a party with flashing lights rather than a fluid and constant motion.
Your cats may also have difficulty seeing the TV. Their eyes are adapted for seeing in low light conditions, so even though they can adjust their pupils to let in less light, the images on the TV might still appear quite bright, especially if you increase the brightness settings on your TV.
Is Watching TV Bad For My Cat?
The great thing is that TV isn’t necessarily harmful for your cat. Some specialists believe that a TV can provide enough stimulation for a bored or lonely cat if it’s tuned to the right type of shows.
If your cat sometimes watches TV without much focus, pausing and glancing at the screen while multitasking, it’s likely a positive indication. This suggests that TV serves as an additional form of entertainment for your cat, but they also have various other activities to keep them occupied.
Your cat may also sit and watch TV. If they do this, it’s important to observe what shows or programs catch their attention. If your cat becomes anxious when you’re not around or appears bored or upset, you can potentially use certain TV programming to provide them with mental stimulation.
If your cat becomes overly interested, you may want to attempt to gently discourage them from watching TV. Prevent your cat from getting too near the TV screen. Similar to humans, being too close could harm their vision or hearing in the long run.
If your cat likes to attack or leap towards the TV, you should teach them not to do it by using a spray bottle or redirecting their attention to a toy or something else. This is important because their pouncing can harm the TV, and if they misjudge their jump, they could also hurt themselves.
Just like with anything else in your pet’s life, it’s important to find a balance. If your cat enjoys watching TV, it’s okay to let them indulge in that interest. You can even leave the TV on when you’re not around to keep them occupied and entertained. However, it’s also important to give your cat some time away from the TV.
Your Cat Might Be Mimicking You
There’s another explanation why your cat could be watching TV that we haven’t talked about yet. They might be copying you!
Cats may not show their love like dogs do, but they are usually very loyal to their owners. One way cats can demonstrate this loyalty is by wanting to be a part of whatever you’re doing, even if they don’t fully comprehend it.
That’s the reason why certain cats will join in when you’re singing your favorite songs. It can also clarify strange actions such as sitting on your keyboard or positioning themselves between you and your computer screen.
These actions may be annoying to us, but they are your cat’s method of expressing that they understand the importance of what you’re doing. Because it concerns you, they want to be a part of it. It’s similar to a friend allowing you to discuss your favorite hobby, even if they aren’t personally interested in it.
If your cat only seems to be interested in the TV when you are watching it, even if it’s on all the time, they are likely just copying your behavior rather than actually being interested in the TV.
Kinds Of Programming Your Cat Might Like
People who have a cat that appears to watch TV often wonder what shows their cat would enjoy.
The fact is that there is no specific type of TV show that will definitely grab the attention of every cat. Just like humans, cats have their own unique personalities and preferences. One idea about why cats might watch TV is that those who are more interested are probably more inclined to chase after prey compared to other cats.
Therefore, it’s recommended to begin with programs that have plenty of action. Certain individuals observe that their cats show a special interest in programs that showcase cars and other big, speedy objects. However, we personally prefer nature programs, especially those that highlight other cats, birds, or small animals.
That’s because those are pictures that your cat would naturally be interested in outside, so those shapes and sounds are likely to get a reaction along with the movement on the screen.
Take note of what captures your cat’s attention the most, as well as who they interact with. For instance, your cat might find pleasure in watching Tom and Jerry because they used to watch it with your child when they were younger. Despite being aware that the characters are not real (cats can distinguish between real people and cartoons), each cat will have their own unique preferences.
If you figure out what your cat enjoys, don’t worry about letting them watch TV. Just make sure they behave well and take some breaks from the screen.