Why do cats’ pupils change shapes and sizes?

Introduction: Understanding Cats’ Pupils

Cats are fascinating animals that exhibit a wide range of behaviors and physical features. One characteristic that sets them apart is their pupils, which can change shape and size depending on various factors. Understanding the science behind this phenomenon can help us appreciate the complexity of feline vision and behavior.

The Science Behind Pupil Contraction and Dilation

Pupils are the circular openings in the center of the iris, the colored part of the eye. They control the amount of light that enters the eye and reach the retina, where images are formed. The muscles of the iris, called the sphincter and dilator, regulate the size of the pupil by contracting and relaxing. When the sphincter muscles contract, the pupil becomes smaller, allowing less light to enter the eye. When the dilator muscles contract, the pupil becomes larger, letting in more light. These changes happen automatically in response to various stimuli, such as light intensity, distance, and emotion.

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