Can Cats Watch TV? Do They Understand It?

You must have noticed your cat staring at the TV screen during some shows, sometimes even reacting to it..!! Well, they can see the screen and it becomes difficult for them to distinguish between what is real and what is not. I have also noticed a few cats meowing when they see other animals on TV.

Can Cats Watch TV

However, my cat would jump and try to grab that creature from the TV. It always amuses me to watch my cat do this. Many of you might have probably experienced this before. I’ll try to explain some of the questions people usually ask regarding this.

Can Cats See TV?

Cats love to grab and play with small moving things, hence they react to movement on TV. There were few studies conducted regarding this, cats don’t have the same amount of receptors in their eyes hence, it is not possible for them to perceive colors that a normal human would normally see.

When compared to the human eye, all cats have only two types of color receptors, blue-violet and yellow-green.

Hence, Your cat might not be able to see the full-color spectrum. Depending on the type of TV, they may not be able to perceive the depth of the image. They might think of television as a small confusing window.

Can Cats Recognize Sounds on TV?

Yes, Cats have a really good sense of hearing, Our cats might recognize the sound from television especially when they have heard it somewhere before. At times it happens so they might see something on TV and not be interested but as soon as they hear something on it, they might raise their ears and try to figure out what is going on.

Can Cats Recognize Sounds on TV

Cats would get really confused when they can’t relate the smell to sound and vision from the TV.

Is It Good for a Cat to Watch TV?

Although you may never get tired of watching your cat watching TV, you should try to be careful as they don’t realize what is real and what is not, hence if anything interests them they might try to get it.

Is It Good for a Cat to Watch TV

As a result, you’d have to buy a new TV as I did a few months back, that is what made me want to research how all domestic cats perceive television.

Other than that you should try to keep distance between them and the television as it would be damaging to their eyes if they would be close to the screen for too long.

Which Kind of Shows Should You Let Them Watch on TV?

Sometimes, it might be stimulating for cats to watch television when the guardian is not around as they might get frustrated staying alone for prolonged hours. You need to keep a watch in the early days of making them watch television and notice how they react to different things.

Some shows may be more interesting to them than others, sometimes they might be really interested in baby shows or children dancing where there is movement involved or I have seen videos on the internet where they are only interested in watching other cats on television.


Is it okay for my cat to watch TV for long hours?

It would be okay for a cat to watch television for some time but if they are exposed to the screen too much then it can harm their vision. Their eyes are built to see clearly in dark hence the brightness of the screen might be too much for their eyes to take.

Can cats get addicted to TV?

No, cats can never get addicted to television as they have no control over it. Cats would not be able to push buttons and turn on/off the TV. However, they can push the remote down from the table and accidentally press the button.

Do cats know what is going on when they are watching television?

Cats perceive images faster than humans do, so if they are looking at an older television, they might only see the slides of images, however, if it is a new television, they would be able to perceive the object or animals on TV as they display images much faster than the old ones.


Now you know about your cat much better than before, it’s probably a good idea if you don’t leave them alone with nature shows on television or else it can cost you a new TV and can create dangerous situations for your cat if that TV falls down on them.

While the cat is watching television try to keep a good distance between the cat and the TV so it doesn’t damage its vision.

References and Further Reading:

  1. Color Perception in Cats —
  2. Light Sensitivity of Cats —UCSB ScienceLine
  3. Socio-spatial Cognition in Cats — PubMed Central

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