Cats and dogs do have a sixth sense, so the next time it looks like your beloved mutt is staring into space, or barking at ghosts, it’s more likely that they are actually just seeing things we
plebians humans can’t.
Researchers at City University London have discovered that our four-legged besties are capable of seeing ultraviolet light.
Up until recently, scientists thought this ocular aptitude was reserved for certain bees, reptiles, and fish, but it looks like (no pun intended) pups can peep those ultraviolet visuals as well.
Ultraviolet rays do not pass through human’s ocular media (the clear part of our eye where light passes through) which is why we can’t see it.
Scientists know that rodents use their ultraviolet superpower to see urine, while bees use it to help them find nectar in flowers. So before your pup pees on your neighbor’s garden they catch a glimpse of flowers like this:
The flower on the left is the flower as we humans see it, but the flower on the right is more to true to what your pup sees. Dogs can also see this Yoda tattoo in it’s full form without the aid of a black light.
And, if your pup ever gets into art collecting, you won’t have to worry about him or her ever falling for any phonies.
But don’t get too jealous of not being able to see the world through
rose ultraviolet colored glasses, because in the same way that ultraviolet rays damage people’s skin, they can also be harsh on eyes. This may explain why a lot of pets develop cataracts (you know, when a dog’s eyeball looks like a fortune teller’s crystal ball?) in their old age.
Still, it is cool. Growing up we thought dogs could only see 50 shades of grey, and now we know the world looks well, a little more like a rave.
I look forward to the day when some brainiac discovers an entire species of ultraviolet squirrels. It may explain why my dog occasionally barks into space.