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What TV Looks Like to Dogs and Cats

What TV Looks Like to Dogs and Cats

Have you ever wondered why fluffy doesn't like to watch "Doctor Who" or "Game of Thrones"?

Why don't our pets have a favorite TV show like we do? Well, to put it simply ... TV shows and movies don't make any sense to them.

Pets can't visually make sense of the programs we love. To them, everything looks like one big blur -- but dogs and cats see different things.

Grumpy Cat hates TV because, well, Grumpy Cat hates everything

According to scientists from Trinity College Dublin, dogs see in slow motion. That's what makes them so good at chasing rabbits and fetching balls, but it also means those pretty graphics on a TV just smear together.

For them, it'd be like watching like that one slow motion scene from "Inception" over and over and over again.

Cats, on the other hand, process visual information much faster than we do ... which is why you may have a clumsy cat that constantly dashes into things. (Can you blame them? It's a lot harder to dodge things if they're moving super fast.

To a cat, a show literally just looks like never-ending, mind numbing flickers of light.

Some pets do like to watch these weird, garbled images, though. If you've got a couch potato pooch, check out services like DogTV. DogTV creates special shows made for your pets because they tweak
the frame rate and color spectrum.

Does your pet love to watch TV, or does it get annoyed when you grab the clicker? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Photos of cute puppies because ... well, do we need a reason?!

More to see:
Happy #NationalDogDay! Celebrate with these photos of adorable puppies
'Hotel Hell': Master chef Gordon Ramsay introduces dog Rumple
Puppy and cheetah cub are best friends
Peruvian nurse cares for 175 sick cats

Join the discussion

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dferg7223 August 31 2014 at 7:05 AM

It has always amazed me how scientists come to these 'sight' conclusions about dogs and cats. One year they see only in black and white, the next year it is determined that they see in color, oh wait...., then they said they only see shadows. "Cats see faster....dogs see in slow motion....everything on tv is a blur to them"...yada, yada, yada. I've often wondered how these scientists have become brilliant enough to sit and hold a conversation with a cat or dog to establish just what they are seeing, or better yet....how they have been able to actually 'see thru the eyes of a dog or cat'. I mean...really? And my head screws on and off.

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7 replies
I LOVE YOU MOM! August 31 2014 at 5:55 AM

There was a commercial where a rooster came on from the left of the screen and moved across until it disappeared off the right side of the screen. My rottweiler would watch the rooster and then run & look behind the right side of the screen and then run into the bathroom behind the living room, through it and back into the living room looking for that rooster. Same thing every time that commercial came on except he got to where he'd stand off to the side of the TV thinking he'd catch the rooster.

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1 reply
yamel86 I LOVE YOU MOM! August 31 2014 at 9:29 AM

I had a Cockerpoo, now deceased, who loved a commercial that had chickens in it. When it came on the TV she would come running from wherever she was in the house to sit and watch it.

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snhhert August 31 2014 at 10:21 AM

My dog was telling me just the other day that he really wants the playboy channel not to watch the naked girls but for the colors. Not sure I'm falling for that but I did call direct tv and order it. I will post my findings next month.

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Hi Art & Nan snhhert August 31 2014 at 5:31 PM


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Doug August 31 2014 at 8:32 AM

Of course, until these scientists actually can BE a cat or dog and see through their eyes, they don't know jack.

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2 replies
Linda Mortensen Doug August 31 2014 at 9:46 AM

My furbaby is an avid tv fan. I can see her eyes move with the action on screen. She knows the music from animal commercials and goes wild when dogs or cats are on screen with or without noise from them. She also looks around the side and back of tv to see where those potential playmates have gone. Come study my dog and then tell me this story again.

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gail7rltr Doug August 31 2014 at 11:25 AM

scientists aren't smart enough to be a cat or dog

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USUCK2MUCHO August 31 2014 at 9:26 AM

I disagree with the so called experts. Right now my cat is watching NATGEO- Stalking the Mountain Lion. She loves animal shows especially ones with birds and barking dogs. She also likes Futurama.

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1 reply
Leah USUCK2MUCHO August 31 2014 at 3:32 PM

I don't know what they can see, but they can sure enjoy what they hear. We had a cat that would watch The Nanny with my husband. Whenever he heard Fran Drescher, he'd rush into the room (the cat, not my husband).

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1 reply
tony.br1 Leah August 31 2014 at 4:50 PM

In my house I rushed into the room when I heard Fran.

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gregcoben August 31 2014 at 7:06 AM

Any pet owner knows this is just not true. My cat is fascinated by the Westminster Dog Show.

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badrad69 August 28 2014 at 4:44 PM

My dog likes horse movies. He isn't much of a football fan though.....

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Duncan August 31 2014 at 5:36 AM

Bunk, she has no clue! Why does a dog start barking at the image of a dog on the TV...and go a bit crazy if that dog on TV barks...? Simple, he can see the darn dog and then he can hear it and it sounds like a dog...right?

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2 replies
Calvin Duncan August 31 2014 at 6:59 AM

You have it half right.He or she can hear it.

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1 reply
Elizabeth Calvin August 31 2014 at 7:09 AM

Only if it is making a sound. I have known dogs that could tell if another dog was on TV, even if it was not barking.

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hellyon3too Duncan August 31 2014 at 8:43 AM

SHE is a reporter, not a scientist. She's only reading the copy she's been given. SHE isn't supposed to know these things. It's not her job.

I'm surprised someone like you can't figure that out, Einstein.

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1 reply
debjorgo hellyon3too August 31 2014 at 9:07 AM

She's a reporter. She's suppose to have a clue. Are you going to report something as fact when it is complete speculation?

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hoosierquilt August 31 2014 at 10:11 AM

Scientists have it wrong - my Australian Shepherd watches TV avidly. In fact, he has certain commercial memorized by sound. If he hears them, he comes running to watch, because there is an animal in the commercial. And, he can distinguish between cats, dogs, wolves, coyotes, and horses. All hold a different level of interest and reaction from him. And, he has learned that if there are children in a commercial or TV show, there are bound to be animals, so he will stay affixed to the TV screen if he sees children, in hopes of viewing an animal. I have 3 Aussies, and only one of them has this level of ability and interest. So, you cannot make a blanket observation regarding dogs (and cats), as there are varying levels of abilities within species.

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1 reply
jtmuskie hoosierquilt August 31 2014 at 10:24 AM

My 2 Cavaliers are exactly the same.....

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wjs27skeet August 31 2014 at 6:11 AM

"To them, everything looks like one big blur"
And you know this fact HOW?

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3 replies
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