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Can Cats Move Their Eyes? (Explained)

Cats are known to have unique eyes. Even the eye shines at night which can haunt people.

Moreover, the weird structure of the eyes of cats does not make their eyes special. People might have different assumptions about cats. Yet, the view they see is quite similar to human eyes.

Following below tips and information you can know more about cats’ eyes and if their eyes can move.

Can cats move their eyes?

The cats cannot move their eyes at all. Yet they can dilate the pupil depending on the environment they are viewing. Sometimes, it may seem like cats are moving their eyes back and forth or dancing. Well, it can occur due to disease. You should rather consult a doctor immediately.

Cats have weird eyes due to their color and structure. Yet, they do not have any special ability.

Rather, their eyes lack more ability than human eyes. Moreover, they cannot move their eyes at all. Neither side to side or continuously. Instead moving of eyes can be caused by disease.


It is impossible for cats to move their eyes independently. Well, their eye structure does not allow their eyes to move.

As a result, they have to move their head instead, in order to look around. Cats cannot move their eyes independently unless they have eye disease.

Without moving their head:

Absolutely not, cats cannot move their eyes without moving their head.

They have quite the same vision as humans. Moreover, they might not see as much as colors as humans still they are not completely colorblind.

Apart from that, they can dilate their pupils. Well, it also happens when they are too excited or shocked. But cannot see in the side or back without moving the head.

Side to side:

The cat cannot move their eyes side to side either. Well, it’s more like sometimes they shake their eyes unintentionally. It looks like the eyes are moving back and forth or dancing.

Well, it is a disease that causes it. Otherwise, they cannot move their eyes even from side to side.

Do cats control their eyes?

Cats can control their eyes to make their vision clearer. Cats do not have much ability to control or view things as they want.

Yet they can use simple controlling techniques like human eyes. They can focus on things and set their eyes on to view things clearly.

They can dilate the pupil according to the environment and also move eyeballs. Drawing focus on things is not clearer for them. They can not see a variety of colors. That does not mean they are color blind. The primary colors can be viewed by them.

Moreover, they can dilate the pupil vertically which gives them a more specific idea or view of what is around them. This helps them to haunt their targets.

At the same time, it may look scary. Many may avoid eye contact with cats as the eyes can look very scary, especially at night.

How far can cats move their eyes?

Cats can see up to 6 meters in distance. Though there is no specific distance for cats to view things properly.

As the vision becomes unclear with increased distance. Cats cannot exactly move their eyes. They can rather control their eyes to view things perfectly.

Moreover, the controlling or moving of the eyes is not too much or visual. That’s why moving their eyes is most of the time caused by disease.

They can see things at a distance of 25 cm and which is at the maximum distance of 6 meters. Closer distances can be a bit blurry in the view of cats.

Moreover, for far distances the ability of the cats to view things correctly decreases. Unlike humans they can see properly at night time yet the distance can make the view uncleared.

Why don’t a cat’s eyes move?

Cats cannot move their eyes as they want. Well, the different structures of their eyes can lead to assumptions that cats have better eyes or better views.

Oppositely, the eye of the cat cannot provide many facilities in viewing things. Rather a blurry and less colored environment is observed by them.

Unlike humans, cats cannot move the eyes either from side to side or up-down. If they can, it is rather considered a disease. Some of the reasons why cats’ eyes do not move are listed below.

Lack muscle:

Cats have big eyes which do not exactly provide a great facility in their vision. They lack muscles that could allow their eyeballs to move.

Even though they cannot move their eyes, they still can control their eyes. Their eyelids movement allows them to focus on things better.

Apart from that, the pupil can constrict or dilate according to the need. Which all collectively helps the cat to view things with better focus.

Well, not most of the animals can move their eyes and cats are no different from others. However, moving of eyes can be a sign of disease.

Does not have space:

If you look while focusing on a cat’s eye, you will find there is no space for the eye to move and neither the eyeballs. As there is no muscle for them to move, eyeballs can not move intentionally either.

That does not mean they will always stand in one place. Rather moving of eyes is not a good indication.

What does it mean when a cat’s eyes move back and forth?

When a cat’s eyes move back and forth it refers to a disease. The disease is named nystagmus. In this condition, the cat’s eye moves back and forth, more like dancing of the eye.

It indicates the cat has balancing problems. The cat can not coordinate the nervous system.

Moreover, the symptoms can occur in a few hours. It does not take a long time to appear. As a result, it becomes easier to diagnose.

But, the cat may face nausea or other health problems as well. However, balance problems can cause vomiting, incoordinate movement in any animal.

These symptoms can also occur in the cat. You should rather consult a vet to diagnose the disease and start the treatment. Sometimes, this condition can be occurred due to trauma as well.

How is the cat’s eye adapted for hunting if they can’t move?

Even though a cat cannot move the eye yet it can focus on its prey. Well, eyes indeed have one of the most complex mechanisms in the whole body of an animal. Eyes make a mirror image of the view an animal sees and pass it to the brain.

Moreover, the cat’s eye has the ability to see things in the dark, unlike humans. This allows them to hunt their prey even in the dark.

When they see the prey, the pupil of the eye dilates which ensures the prey is in the focus of the cat’s eye. Well, dilation of the eye helps to focus on the prey.

Even though they cannot move their eyes, instead they set their eyes on the prey. As a result, the only thing they see is the prey and its movement.

Well, as there is a certain distance limit to where the cat is able to see, they would rather move to follow the prey.

How do cats avoid eye injury when they can’t move?

Cats are unable to move their eyes but they can move the eyelids and pupils. Pupils would focus on things and help to create a good mirror image in the brain of the cat. Depending on the need the pupil can dilate or constrict.

They can move the eyelid to avoid injuries. Moreover, they can react immediately to the changes in the environment because of their quick mechanism of the nervous system.

It may not be the same case as well. Apart from moving eyelids and quick response they cannot avoid eye injury.

Though the eye has a complex mechanism, it also has strong protection. There are layers too which do not let infectious elements invade.

Final Thoughts

Overall, a cat cannot move their eyes. Instead of that, they adapt to the environment by making changes in their pupils. They also have a limited vision which does not allow them to see too far or too near. To view things their pupil goes through changes according to the situation.