What do cats and dogs see when they watch television? The experts explain it to us

Humans tend to apply human traits to our pets. We are convinced that they understand our language, that they do things and think as humans. So we are very funny when they watch television, because they match U.S. But When a dog or a cat watches television, what do you see? The experts explain it to us.

Although both animals have good vision, it is different from that of humans and they do not perceive the images on TV, which are still static frames that are broadcast at 24, 50 or 60 fps, just as we do.

And although they see the same image, for example that what appears on TV is a person, a cow or a car, they are not interested in the same things. So no, your dog is not hooked on Perry Mason because he likes the plot …


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What do dogs see?

Firstly, as our colleague Andrea Núñez-Torrón tells us from TICbeat, dogs have dichromatic vision, which means that they only use two primary colors to see different colors: yellow and blue. Humans have three-dimensional vision: we use three colors that mix with each other to obtain the entire color range: red, blue and green.

So, Although the dogs see the same as us, they see it with different colors.

Another important difference is that dogs detect movement with a different frequency than ours. Our eyes create the illusion of movement when they contemplate between 15 and 20 images per second. That’s why we see movement in movies, which are broadcast at 24 frames per second (fps). Instead dogs need at least 70 images per second to perceive movement.

When a dog watches a movie on TV at 24 fps, you are not seeing movement, but a succession of static images.

With television series or video games, which are at 50 or 60 fps, if they begin to perceive some movement.


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And what catches your attention from what you see on the screen?

A study published in Animal Cognition in 2013 showed that they are able to recognize other dogs on TV. In general they are struck by the same things as in the real world: blows, siren noises, barking, other animals, etc. They focus more on the sound of the TV, than on the image itself.

Another important difference is that dogs do not have the attention span of humans. It depends on the race, but in general they only watch TV for a few seconds before paying attention to something else, although later they return to it.

What do cats see?

Cats are generally less interested in TV than dogs. And here their predatory instincts dominate them: they only notice it when they see prey.

A study published in Applied Animal Behavior Science in 2008, with 125 cats that had access to a television three hours a day, found that the animals only watched the TV on 6.1% of the timeIt was almost always when a bird, mouse, or other prey appeared.

This is why experts advise not leaving a cat alone with the TV on. If you see a prey you could jump for it and throw the TV on the ground …

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