There’s a killer on the loose

Cat - Lago di Chiusi - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

This domestic cat is a natural born killer. How can I tell? All I have to do is look into its eyes.

Cat - Lago di Chiusi - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

What gives it away? It’s the shape of the pupils which does it.

If you look at animals which are predated, like deer, they tend to have horizontal pupils to gather the most light possible in their wide-ranging monocular vision. They even swivel their eyes in their sockets to keep their pupils horizontal when they put their heads down to graze. I wrote about it here:

It’s something which has evolved over millions of years because the most wary deer were the ones which had the most offspring and their inherited features became more common within the population.

What about this cat then?

Cat - Lago di Chiusi - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Vertical pupils are found in predators which hunt both day and night. They are useful for judging the distance of relatively close prey items and they stop glare when the sun is low on the horizon. The bigger the species of cat, the more rounded their pupils. The precise judging of distance becomes less useful when your head is further from the ground. It has evening-mouse eyes.

This cat has its eyes narrowed into tiny slits for the same reason that I have a huge lens hood on the end of my camera lens and for the same reason that I’m squinting; it stops the glare of late afternoon sun so they can see.

A domestic cat can narrow its eyes to 1/135th of their area when fully open. For humans it’s just 1/15th; or not at all if you’ve taken cocaine, amphetamines, LSD or ecstasy.

Cat - Lago di Chiusi - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

As this cat rubs itself against my legs, responds to my stroking its back and wiggles as I massage the top of its head, I know that it’s a natural born killer.

Cat - Lago di Chiusi - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

What an incredible animal.

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