Chatoyancy: Shining like a cat eye

Cats do not see the world the same way that you and I do. Their vision is adapted to night hunting, so they have a much better ability to see in dim light than we do. They are also adapted to detect even the slightest motion, in order to spot prey.

A cat's eye has a reflective layer behind the retina, not present in human eyes, that bounces light back. You've probably seen a cat's eye shining in dim light, a result of this reflection.

Alex, very reflective

Cats can see some colors, especially purples, blues, and greens, but not as intensely as humans see colors.

Jade, eyes like gemstones

Certain gemstones with a particularly beautiful and reflective property are said to have "chatoyancy," a word derived from a French verb meaning "to shimmer like cats' eyes."


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