Discover What Colors Do Cats Hate: Feline Color Preferences Unveiled

Cats don’t “hate” any specific colors because their color perception is different from humans. They don’t see the full range of colors as we do; instead, they mostly see blues and yellows, while reds and greens probably appear as shades of gray to them.

This doesn’t mean colors don’t have an effect on cats. Certain bright colors can certainly excite or attract a cat’s attention, but it doesn’t mean they hate or are repulsed by specific colors. Colors or patterns are more about visibility and contrast to them rather than aesthetics or preference.

Last Updated on September 22, 2023

As a cat lover, you may have observed that your furry friend has preferences for certain colors and may steer clear of others. In fact, understanding feline color preferences can have a significant impact on creating a comfortable and stress-free environment for your cat. But what colors do cats actually dislike and why?

In this article, I will explore the science behind feline color vision and delve into specific colors that cats tend to dislike. We will also examine how different colors can impact cat behavior and provide practical tips for designing cat-friendly spaces by considering color choices that are more appealing and conducive to your cat’s well-being.

Key Takeaways

  • Cats have unique color vision that differs from humans.
  • Certain colors may induce stress in cats, while others can have a calming effect.
  • Environmental factors can influence a cat’s color preferences, including their surroundings, upbringing, and personal experiences.
  • Choosing colors wisely in designing cat-friendly spaces can create a harmonious environment for your cat.

The Science Behind Feline Color Vision

Understanding color preferences in cats requires some background knowledge of feline color vision. While humans have three types of color-sensitive cones in the eyes, enabling us to see a broad spectrum of colors, cats only have two types of cones. This means that felines have dichromatic vision, with a limited ability to distinguish between colors.

The two types of cones found in a cat’s eyes are sensitive to short-wavelength light (blue and green) and long-wavelength light (red and yellow). As a result, cats perceive the world in shades of blue and yellow, with little to no differentiation between reds and greens.

This color vision deficiency in cats is thought to have evolved as an adaptation to their natural hunting habits. With a focus on prey movement, cats have less need for color vision and instead rely on their acute motion detection and contrast sensitivity.

It’s important to note that while cats cannot see the same range of colors as humans, they are still able to detect variations in brightness and contrast. This means that while color preferences may not be as significant for cats as they are for humans, they can still be influenced by certain colors and patterns.

feline color vision

The Science Behind Feline Color Vision: Key Takeaways

  • Cats have dichromatic vision, with two types of color-sensitive cones in their eyes.
  • Cats perceive the world in shades of blue and yellow, with little differentiation between reds and greens.
  • Cats’ color vision deficiency is thought to have evolved as an adaptation to their hunting habits.
  • Cats can still detect variations in brightness and contrast, which can influence their color preferences.

Colors That Cats Dislike: Aversion and Associations

While cats are known to have color vision, they perceive colors differently from humans due to the structure of their eyes. For example, cats have fewer color-detecting cells and have a harder time differentiating between certain colors, such as red and green. This different perception of colors may explain why cats often have aversions or negative associations with certain colors.

One color that cats tend to dislike is orange. This may be because orange can be associated with citrus fruits, which have strong scents that cats find unpleasant. Additionally, orange may also be associated with predator animals like tigers or lions, making cats feel threatened or uneasy around the color.

Another color that cats may dislike is purple. While purple is often seen as a regal or luxurious color to humans, cats may view it as artificial or fake due to its rarity in nature. This may lead cats to have negative associations with purple and avoid objects or spaces that are predominantly purple.

White is another color that cats may find uncomfortable. This may be because white is often associated with medical environments, which can be stressful or uncomfortable for cats. Additionally, white may also be associated with predators like owls or eagles, which can trigger a cat’s instinctual fear response.

colors cats dislike

It is important to note that every cat is unique, and their color preferences and aversions may vary based on their individual experiences and personalities. However, understanding common color aversions in cats can help pet owners design environments that are more comfortable and appealing to their feline companions.

Exploring Color Effects on Cat Behavior

Colors can have a significant impact on a cat’s behavior and mood. As previously discussed, cats perceive colors differently from humans, which can affect their preferences and emotions. Understanding how different colors can affect cats is essential for creating a harmonious living space for our feline friends.

Colors that repel cats

Some colors can be particularly unappealing to cats, causing them to avoid certain areas or objects. One color that many cats dislike is orange. This may be due to its association with citrus, which is often used in cleaning products that emit a strong odor cats find unpleasant.

Colors that induce stress

Certain colors can induce stress or anxiety in cats, making them feel uneasy or agitated. One color that can have this effect is red. Research suggests that red can stimulate the nervous system and increase adrenaline levels, trigger aggressive behavior, and even make cats more susceptible to pain.

Calming colors for cats

On the other hand, some colors can have a calming effect on cats’ nervous systems, helping them to relax and feel at ease. Blue and green are known to have a soothing effect on humans and can have the same impact on cats. These colors are often used in veterinary clinics and animal shelters to create a peaceful environment for animals.

The role of color saturation

The intensity or saturation of a color can also impact a cat’s behavior. Bright, vibrant colors can be overstimulating and overwhelming, while softer, muted colors can have a more calming effect. For example, a bright red toy may be too stimulating for a cat, while a softer shade of pink may be more appealing.

what colors do cats hate

Overall, understanding how colors can impact cats is crucial for creating a comfortable and stress-free environment for them. When designing a cat-friendly space, it’s essential to consider colors that are calming, soothing, and appealing to our feline friends. By doing so, we can ensure that our cats are happy, healthy, and content in their living space.

Environmental Factors and Color Preference in Cats

Just like humans, a cat’s personal experiences and surroundings can influence their preferences, including their color preferences. Despite having a different visual system than humans, cats are still stimulated by colors and may have positive or negative associations with certain shades.

For instance, cats that are raised in an environment with a lot of greenery and natural colors may be more drawn to these tones than to bright or neon colors. On the other hand, cats that have had negative experiences with a certain color may develop a dislike or aversion to it.

This means that color preferences can vary greatly from one cat to another and can be influenced by factors such as:

  • Their living environment (e.g. indoors vs. outdoors)
  • The color of their caregivers’ clothing or accessories
  • The presence of other animals or objects of a certain color
  • Previous experiences or traumas related to a specific color

As a cat owner or caregiver, it’s important to be aware of your cat’s individual preferences and to create a positive and comfortable environment that takes into consideration their color preferences. By paying attention to the colors that your cat seems to enjoy or avoid, you can adjust their living space and accessories to better suit their needs and enhance their well-being.

cat playing with green toy

Image credit: Unsplash

Designing Cat-Friendly Spaces: Choosing Colors Wisely

As we have learned, cats have distinct color preferences and can even exhibit aversions or negative associations to certain colors. When designing a space that is cat-friendly, it is important to consider which colors are more appealing and conducive to their well-being.

Neutral colors: Consider using neutral colors, such as beige, gray, or white, as they can provide a calming effect on cats. These colors also allow their natural fur colors to stand out more prominently, giving them a sense of familiarity.

Avoid bright colors: Bright colors, such as red or orange, can be overstimulating and induce stress in cats. Stick to muted shades or pastels instead.

cat-friendly color palette

Environmental factors: Keep in mind that a cat’s surroundings can also impact their color preferences. For example, if a cat grew up in a home with blue walls, they may develop a positive association with that color. On the other hand, if they had a negative experience with a certain color, such as being scared by a person wearing a red shirt, they may avoid that color in the future.

Texture: In addition to color, texture can also play a role in creating a cat-friendly space. Opt for soft, comfortable materials that cats enjoy, such as plush bedding and carpeting.

By being mindful of a cat’s color preferences and environmental factors, we can create a space that is both visually appealing and comfortable for our feline friends. “A happy cat means a happy home!”


As a cat lover, it’s important to understand our feline friends’ color preferences and how it impacts their behavior and well-being. By considering color choices in designing cat-friendly spaces, we can create a more harmonious environment for our kitties.

Throughout this article, we’ve explored the science behind feline color vision, specific colors that cats tend to dislike, and how environmental factors can influence their preferences. We’ve also discussed how different colors can impact cat behavior and provided practical tips for designing cat-friendly spaces.

Final Thoughts

Understanding what colors cats dislike is just as important as knowing what they like. As responsible pet owners, we should make every effort to provide a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable living space for our furry friends. By applying the knowledge gained from this article, we can create a more cat-friendly environment that promotes their happiness and well-being.


Q: What colors do cats hate?

A: Cats are known to dislike colors such as red, orange, and pink.

Q: Why do cats dislike certain colors?

A: Cats’ color preferences are believed to be influenced by their natural instincts and associations. Some colors may remind them of predators or signal danger, causing them to feel uneasy or threatened.

Q: Can colors affect a cat’s behavior?

A: Yes, different colors can have an impact on a cat’s behavior. For example, bright and vibrant colors may stimulate or excite them, while calming colors like pastels or earth tones can help create a more relaxed environment.

Q: How can I create a cat-friendly space using colors?

A: When designing a cat-friendly space, it’s important to choose colors that are soothing and appealing to cats. Opting for more natural and neutral shades, such as blues and greens, can help create a calm and inviting atmosphere for your feline friend.

Q: Are there any colors that attract cats?

A: Cats are generally attracted to colors that mimic their natural surroundings, such as greens and browns. These colors can make them feel more at ease and blend in with their environment.

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