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Forget About "The Dress" — What Color Is This Cat?

The dispute over the color of The Dress made the Internet ask some important questions. About cats.

Angela Lutz  |  Mar 5th 2015


Time moves fast on the Internet. The meme that was clogging my Facebook feed 48 hours ago has often faded to a distant memory by the weekend. But try, if you can, to remember the first time you saw The Dress. You know the one.


This dress.

The first time you saw it, you swore it was white and gold. Then, like an optical illusion, it changed colors before your eyes: Suddenly, without explanation, it appeared blue and black. (For the record, the image on the right is allegedly the real dress, according to its owner. I’m not sure I buy it.)

Science weighed in, as it tends to do, attempting to rationalize the dwindling sanity of those who, after viewing the image above left, could not determine the color of this effing frock. From what I’ve read, it might have something to do with the rods and cones in our eyes, or perhaps it’s just bad lighting. In any case, I hate this dress. It makes me feel like my brain and eyes are staging a mutiny.

However, it did force the Internet to start asking some important questions:


I CANNOT.

Or what about this cat? Is he actually blue, or do the gray background and his yellow eyes make him appear blue? Or has he been Photoshopped? This is the Internet, after all, and the Internet cannot be trusted. It does not have our best interests at heart.


Photo: adsoftheworld.com

You can trust me, however. Check out this picture of my blue and black calico cat, Phoenix.


I love her stupid face!

And here’s my gold tabby, Bubba Lee Kinsey.


Just begging to be motorboated.

Here’s another important question: What do Bubba Lee Kinsey and Phoenix think about The Dress? They don’t speak English, so let’s ask science!

For starters, cats’ vision is less vibrant than ours, meaning the neon-green grass in those allergy medicine commercials appears more yellowish-brown to your kitty. I’d say that’s a point for Team White and Gold. However, cats can see much better in low light than we can thanks to the abundance of photoreceptors in their eyes. Score one for Team Blue and Black.


This photo attempts to create the difference between human vision (top) and cat vision. Source: huffpost.com

But what colors can cats actually see? I always assumed my cats saw the world in varying shades of gray, but that is not the case. According to this science-laden Business Insider article, cats are actually trichromats, meaning they can see variations of three colors:

Humans are known as trichromats, meaning they have three kinds of cones that allow them to see red, green, and blue. Cats are also thought to be trichromats, but not in the same way that humans are. A cat’s vision is similar to a human who is color blind. They can see shades of blue and green, but reds and pinks can be confusing. These may appear more green, while purple can look like another shade of blue.

Therefore, I’ve concluded that my cats think the dress looks like this:


When it comes down to it, don’t we all just want some more bacon?


The Oreo Cat always wants more bacon!

Do your cats love bacon? Share in the comments!

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About Angela: This not-crazy-at-all cat lady loves to lint-roll her favorite dress and go out dancing. She also frequents the gym, the vegan coffee joint, and the warm patch of sunlight on the living room floor. She enjoys a good cat rescue story about kindness and decency overcoming the odds, and she’s an enthusiastic recipient of headbutts and purrs from her two cats, Bubba Lee Kinsey and Phoenix.