Amazing cat illusion


This is wonderful….

It was originally created by Pech Misfortune.  Can you see it rotate one way and then the other?


160 comments on “Amazing cat illusion

  1. David says:

    I’ve seen this before but it was a dancer, I can make it change direction without even thinking anymore

    • Navneeth says:

      Yes, this type of illusion is not new, and I’m surprised Dr. Wiseman considers this amazing. I, too, have seen the ballerina before, but the cat fails. It keeps rotating in a clock-wise direction (when seen from the top).

    • Navneeth says:

      Well, now, with averted vision, I’m able to change to cat’s direction of rotation.

      It’s weird that it did not work some hours ago.

  2. Stephen says:

    I can only see a right > left direction when looking directly. When composing this reply and seeing the cat in peripheral vision, I can see an alternating right > left / left > right motion.

    • fluffy says:

      Same for me. There’s too many perspective cues when looking at it directly for me to see it going left->right.

    • chris says:

      If you look just above the cat you will notice it going counterclockwise (or as you said right>left) however if you look just below the cat when it is at 90 or 180 degrees (facing you or facing away) it switches directions. Sometimes telling yourself that it is turning clockwise also helps

  3. I can indeed see both. Awesome illusion.

  4. FdelV says:

    If you try a bit harder you can make it rotate in an 8 shape…though a real cat can not do this.

  5. Joreth says:

    I can only see it rotate counter-clockwise 😦

  6. Leah Doughty says:

    Sweet! I can make it change direction now! I forgot what this illusion was supposed to indicate but it’s still really cool.

  7. Heather Clemenceau says:

    I only see the counter-clockwise direction no matter how long I look at it.

  8. Repton says:

    The dancer version has a shadow too, which can make it easier to switch directions.

    • lilabyrd says:

      now that one is cool…..I can make it change fast!

    • Steve says:

      The dancer is amazing! For me it just seems to switch direction at random… I can’t “make” it change. I can’t get the cat to switch… perhaps because it is so slow?

  9. julianne says:

    I need a new head! or my cat training skills are rusty! The cat will only go in one direction. Bad Kitty, Bad!

  10. julianne says:

    a little pat and a kind word and kitty is switching direction..

  11. Vern says:

    I just hope Derren hasn’t scooped out its brains again.

    Having trouble getting it to go counter-clock. Almost… but the tail keeps going behind it’s legs when I try to force it.

    • Vern says:

      Got it! Had to concentrate on its forepaws instead of the tail.

    • Vern says:

      This thing is tripping me out. After a bit of practice I can get it to bounce back and forth when it’s facing away. So far I find it impossible to bounce back and forth facing forward (by back and forth I mean covering the same 180 degrees without completing a full circuit).

      Whilst trying to master this I noticed something truly odd… Whichever way I make it rotate the leg that leads is always lower. If it’s going clockwise the right leg leads and is lower than the left. But when it’s going counterclock the left leg leads and is lower than the right! How is that possible? IT IS BEWITCHED! BLACK CATS ARE THE DEVIL!! REPENT! REPENT!

  12. keefc2 says:

    I can only see clockwise (if looking from above) rotation.

    • keefc2 says:

      Before I could only see clockwise rotation from my laptop.
      Now looking at it with a CRT monitor I can only see anti-clockwise rotation. Interesting, maybe screen scan/refresh rates are causing this, like when a fan blade is shown on TV.

  13. glen says:

    Only anti-clockwise

  14. glen says:

    Ok, I can get either, but it never changes.

    If I scroll the image off the screen, then scroll it back down to where I can see it, it spins one way or the other, but never changes from that orientation.

    predominately anti-clockwise though

  15. chrissie says:

    I say it moving anti-clockwise and couldn’t get it to switch. Then I looked down to read some of the comments … and it changed 🙂

  16. I can only make it switch by looking away and then looking back. Freaky.

  17. Gireesh says:

    Stop pretending losers!
    There IS NO illusion. It keeps going clock-wise…

    • Fraser says:

      Which way do the clocks run where you’re from? Not only does it always go anti-clockwise for me, it’s impossible to see how it could be otherwise, even though I know theoretically that it can. Also, my eyes hurt from trying.

  18. twilightshiva says:

    I can see how it works (it’s missing specific differences like if you had a cube and didn’t know if one face was in front or behind) but i can only see it going clockwise.

  19. Wintermute says:

    Like some people above, when looking directly at it I only see it rotating in one direction. When seeing it peripherally while reading the comments, I see it switch directions.

  20. Charles Evo says:

    I have to turn my gaze away, then look back: At that point the cat’s rotation switches to its opposite…but not every time.

  21. Yes. Here is a useful technique.

    Use your hand to cover most of the cat, leaving only the area in the bottom right corner that’s empty except when a tail or hind foot is passing by. That transitory tail/foot, when the rest of the cat’s body is hidden, reverses direction quite readily.

    Wait for it to do so, and when it does, move your hand to reveal the entire cat (an upward movement, not too fast), still focusing your eyes on the tail/foot. Now look at the whole cat.

    • duel_jetty says:

      Thanks! I could not get it to change direction at all until I used your method, even though I can change direction in the ballerina illusion around quite easily.

    • Julia says:

      I tried your method and the cat finally turned clockwise, but only for 1/4 of a rotation, then it switch back to counter-clockwise.

    • Julia says:

      The technique works well with the dancer though!

    • Caroline says:

      Thanks for that, I can finally see it in both directions now. Great illusion!

  22. Charles Evo says:

    Crossing the eyes seems to help, but not every time.

  23. D says:

    Changing the direction that the cat spins in was easier than for the ballet dancer illusion because it is easier to reset the direction of spin when all the limbs are hidden by the body at one instant, making the tracking of those features in terms of depth in a top-down manner less supported.

    I called out “front” or “back” when the limbs are just perpendicular to the plane of view, and managed to see the the direction that the limbs point so, thus, changing the cat’s direction.
    I’ve always had more trouble with the ballet dancer since you can’t hide all limbs at once.

    • lilabyrd says:

      D I found the dancer easier just as her rotating foot swings out I look in the opposite direction and the dancer then turns and follows my eye movement..I can look left and then right and keep her from ever making a full turn that way! So cool!

  24. Danniel Soares says:

    The one with the woman works much better in either direction, I guess this one is not as well done for this purpose.

    • bananacat says:

      That link helped me because the dancer kept switching while I was reading the text next to the image rather than focusing on the image.

  25. darthtanion says:

    OK so I figured out a way to make it change from clockwise to anti-clockwise just as the cat is facing directly away from the camera. Now it can’t stop so it is just continually doing a sort of figure 8 without ever facing me.

  26. Steve Ulven says:

    That took me a good five minutes to get it to switch direction and now I can’t switch it back. I was looking at the tab and about to close it when I noticed the change. So maybe those having trouble try not focusing on it directly, that’s how it worked for me.

  27. Mark says:

    Nope. Hopeless. Like the dancer I only see it going in one direction.

  28. caddy says:

    No matter what angle I choose, it’s only anti-clockwise for me.

  29. Melinda says:

    I can’t make it rotate the other way:(

  30. Christian says:

    At first I could only see the cat going round anti-clockwise. It took a while but I eventually got it to switch. Great illusion.

  31. kathy says:

    Does nothing for me :0(

  32. lilabyrd says:

    Love this…lol….OK maybe the pain meds…lol…but still love it….hehe

  33. niamh says:

    i saw it change direction for a second when the page initially loaded but now it just goes counter clockwise and will not change direction.

  34. Artisticanne says:

    I can make the cat move clockwise and anti-clockwise at my wish! Scroll the screen a small increment up and down, say, 2-3cm, to change her direction – doesn’t need to be too fast.

  35. Artisticanne says:

    Just adding to my comment above… try the movement when the cat is either facing right or left .

  36. james says:

    i can only see the cat spin the other direction if i don’t look directly at it, like i concentrate on something to the left of the picture

  37. Janine says:

    Love it! I see it going anti-clockwise if I look at it straight on but if I look at it in my peripheral vision, then I can get it to either go clockwise or I can even get it to swing half way round and then back again from side to side back and forth (tick tock tick tock) which is brilliant!

  38. Tom says:

    I did not see it at all until I started to read the top comment. When my eyes focused on that text (the cat was of course still at the top of the screen), I noticed that the cat was spinning the other way. When I focused back on the cat, that effect quickly disappeared and I saw the cat spin from right to left again.

    • Artisticanne says:

      Thanks… just looking at the text ‘This is wonderful…’ works for me too. If you rock backwards and forwards on your chair at the same time, the cat changes direction. PS I think I’ve gone slightly mad!

  39. Kristin says:

    Right, I looked at it an hour ago, where I only saw it rotating counter-clockwise. Now when I look at it again, it’s changed direction.

    *scrolls back up*

    No wait! Counter-clockwise again!

  40. mittfh says:

    As with several others, I initially only saw it rotate anticlockwise (i.e. as it spins towards you, it approaches from the left and disappears on the right). However, following a suggestion, I looked to one side and examined it in peripheral vision, and it was spinning in the opposite direction. Eventually I could see it spinning in the opposite direction when looking at it, but glance away for a bit and back, and it’s spinning anticlockwise again.

    As others have said, it’s just a variation on a theme of the Spinning Dancer.

  41. daveman says:

    its an animated gif, which changes direction after a certain amount of time. its certainly not an “illusion” where anything will flip in “your mind”.

    • lilabyrd says:

      you think it changes automatically… matter how you look at it doesn’t change…?

    • michel amm says:

      If so, everybody would see the cat turning clock and anti-clock wise.

      The fact that a few people do not see a change at all shows that the gif is not responsible for the illusion.

      Also, an animated gif is not like a flash image, the sequence of the images is fixed. The change could not be random.

    • daveman says:

      ah, sry, ur right, – this was only the case for one of the dancer illusions i seen.

  42. Hilary says:

    It only changes direction when I’m not looking at it directly. If I stare at it, nothing happens. But if I look slightly away I can see the direction change in my peripheral vision.

  43. SilverMarc says:

    It rotates in both directions for me, and better still, I can see it on my “handheld device” that is not Flash-friendly. So both aspects are successful!

  44. frankiemouse says:

    i have “trouble” with these. when i first look at them they are rotation counter clockwise (as viewed from above). after many attempts with the ballerina i finally managed to see it rotating clockwise, but only briefly. so far i have been unsuccessful to do so with the cat. it’s still rotating counter clockwise for me.

  45. yassair says:

    I always see it turn the same way….

  46. Lauren Sadler says:

    It was going anti-clockwise for me until I looked down at my lunch and looked back up, at which point it had changed direction. I did the same thing again and it switched back, and so on…

  47. frankiemouse says:

    finally. i have to stare past it (like with those pictures made of multi-colored dots that have a “hidden” 3-d image) have it out of focus and not really look it at it to make it seem like it is rotating clockwise. but as soon as i pay attention to it it start rotating counter clockwise again.

  48. Stu says:

    Very difficult to turn the cat. If I concentrate on the tail alone, I can make it change directions. The cat’s body will follow after five or ten rotations. Strange!

  49. Thomas says:

    BTW, the visual cue on works really well for me

  50. […] Shared Amazing cat illusion. […]

  51. DeepField says:

    Allways “the other”. Does not change directions for me.

  52. Bletherskite says:

    Took ages for me to get this to work but with the ballet dancer I got it almost straight away. With the cat I have to look to the right or left of the screen and then sweep my gaze across to get it to change direction.

  53. erica says:

    dittoing what Navneeth says: dancer, I can see either way. This cat, goes just the one way for me.

  54. Letodan says:

    I see it mostly Counter-clockwise from above… it took me some time to see it go clockwise… and to do it, I had to focus on its front paws and blink my eyes quickly until I suddenly saw them turn the other way! It’s always so weird. Like many, I had seen the dancing woman a long time ago…

  55. Marion says:

    I can only see the cat move in a clockwise direction.
    I have seen the same illusion with a dancer which I can make switch direection but just can’t seem to manage this with the cat!

  56. Izzy says:

    No matter what I do it only turns in a counter-clockwise direction. Incidentally, the dancer does exactly the same thing for me. I’m beginning to think they aren’t illusions at all…

  57. Helen says:

    I have seen this as a dancer before. Still frustrating, because I want to get better at flipping it without using my tricks… To get the direction to flip I do either of 2 things: 1) first turn my head upside down, look at it and then continue looking as I shift upright again, or 2) move it to my peripheral vision on my left or right sides and slowly shift to direct vision.

  58. P.A. Hosler says:

    for a real trick if you can cross your eyes right to get double vision, see if you can see one cat cw and the other ccw. It’s cool!!

  59. adora says:

    With the dancer, I can see both directions. But the cat only rotates anti-clockwise.

  60. […] one that has nothing to do with any of those things. It's the spinning ballerina illusion (or the new cat illusion!) in play: believing that you ARE the behaviors and sensations and tendencies and preference and […]

  61. vicki says:

    yes i can it goes first clockwise and then counterclockwise. does this mean anything like more or less left or right brained or something

  62. michel amm says:

    Both way : clock and anti-clockwise.
    But I had to read the comments first to see a change !

    It is more easy to change the direction when hiding the body of the cat and just looking at the head for few seconds.

  63. BriansAWildDowner says:

    first i saw it going one way. Then it switched. Then i opened a chat window so noticed that whenever i took my eyes off the image it would switch and start going the other way. Now when i look at it just keeps alternating between different ones.

  64. Abigail says:

    I managed to get it to start going the other way, but only after locating the ballerina illusion and making that switch direction.

  65. Grimaud50 says:

    Wow. I had to spend several minutes before I could see anything besides a counter clockwise direction. Finally, it switched to clockwise. Then I couldn’t get it back to cc. Now I can see both – whew!

  66. […] Amazing cat illusion This is wonderful…. […]

  67. Svlad Cjelli says:

    It’s the feet that make it harder than the dancer.

  68. Fergus Gallagher says:

    Concentrate on the tip of the tail to get it to switch direction.

  69. woodcut says:

    If you squint your eyes, it changes.
    This is a fun site!

  70. LordManley says:

    Strange – this is the same as the dancer, but I am able with this to ‘see’ the tail rotating one way, whilst the remainder of the cat rotates the other way, which was mildly pleasing.

  71. Jerry says:

    No matter what i do, both, cat and dancer keep moving clock wise and there is nothing i can do about it…

  72. Steve says:

    Y’know, I’ve tried but I can only see it rotating clockwise. I think it’s because I’m assuming the cat starts out facing me.

  73. Thomas Weigel says:

    The “direction” question is a red herring. The only illusion is that the cat is three-dimensional.

    If it *is* three-dimensional, however, there is actually only one direction it can be rotating (clockwise if viewed from the top). Most optical illusions take advantage of how vision works – in order to see this one rotating counter-clockwise, however, you have to use your mind to *override* how vision works.

    Two blatant examples:

    1. The tail shrinks when moving from center to left to center, and grows when moving from center to right to center. If the cat was moving counter-clockwise, this would be opposite.

    2. The right ear is smaller when the head is on the left, and vice versa. If the cat was moving counter-clockwise, this would also be opposite.

    I suspect that if you measured items in the image to the pixel, you would find similar things for the paws, muzzle, and curve of the back.

    • Brian says:

      the tail looks to me like it’s shrinking on both sides. I think as it goes to the left and to the right the image is exactly mirrored.

  74. amorphous says:

    I have stared at that bloody cat on and off all day.

    Tried every way I know to focus / unfocus my eyes , and still it only spins counter clockwise.

    Guess I need some psilocybin or similar before it will work for me.

  75. I very rarely see any visual illusions working the way they’re supposed to. An example would be the so-called “magic eye” graphics, which I cannot see.

    I had it explained to me that they only work because of a flaw in our binocular vision, in that one eye is always slightly out, so there’s not an exact overlap of the two eyes.

    Also, I have excellent peripheral vision (easily over 180 degrees), so no matter what trickery I try, neither my eyes nor my brain are to be fooled!

  76. Berber Anna says:

    I can make it switch, but not very easily. Somehow it gets easier when I’m tired, though.

    Btw, can I just say that I had to giggle at the pseusonym ‘Pech Misfortune’? Pech is misfortune in Dutch, so it’s basically the same word twice. For such a very misfortunate person, he makes a pretty good illusion! 😉

    • Pech says:

      Thanks, but please “she”, I’m a woman 🙂 And it’s pretty simple to make such an illusion, you only need to know how it works, how to to simple animation in 3dsmax and how to put all frames together. But i’m glad so many people approciate it…

  77. It is said that the way you see the figure rotating says sth about your personality!

  78. Feline says:

    No matter how I force myself not to see it turning counterclocwise, I can’t…

  79. Cat Lover says:

    Its a very good picture, however this picture is what I call amazing – This is Oscar the world’s first bionic cat!

  80. randy says:

    I have seen the same illusion with a female dancer silhouette, and can readily see the change in direction. I usually only have to close, then open my eyes to see it change. However, I have so far not been able to see the cat change direction.

  81. Rob says:

    I can force a direction change by closing my eyes and opening them at different parts of the cycle. If I open when the cat’s paws are pointing left, the apparent rotation flips from clockwise (looking down) to counter clockwise.

  82. […] (h/t Richard Wiseman) […]

  83. erikthebassist says:

    right as the cats paws get longest, or right before, blink your eyes real fast to create a strobe effect, it will switch directions, i can keep it going back and forth indefinitely this way, never making a complete rotation.

    • erikthebassist says:

      and when I do this, the cat’s back is always to me, I can’t repeat the effect with the cat facing me.

  84. Sally says:

    This image is fun to use: seeing it move 360 degrees left to right, right to left; and 180 degrees, back and forth.
    Wonder if this kind of exercise helps the brain see alternative concepts as well.

  85. eric says:


    you have to look away, you can’t look directly at it. Look off to the side of your monitor and see the cat rotating like in a blur, and in your mind see it rotate in the other direction and when you do you can look directly at it and its going in the other direction. I can’t switch it when look directly at it.

    Very interesting how it works

  86. Crad says:

    At first I could only make the cats tail going the other direction, all you have to do is picture the cats tail going in front of the cat first at opposed to going behind it first, then do the same thing with his arms but I can only make it work if I’m not looking directly at the cat but rather looking with my perifial vision. but it does work no doubt!

  87. Jllynn says:

    Ok, all it does is rotate back and forth from right to left (kind of like a pendulum), however, because of the lack of shadows, it gives the illusion of a full circular rotation. Once you realize this, you can make it switch on command. So cool.

    • Brian says:

      that’s exactly how I did it. I just visualized it going back and forth with its back to me and then I could do it.

  88. Aaron says:

    Wow, unreal. The arch in the cats back was throwing me off, but if you look away it happens

  89. mamin says:

    how can u change it at wil

  90. james santaguida says:

    i thought at first it was the display just being swithched off randomly but no. I switched it about 30 times in one minute. The easiest way is for me to look at it as if i’m looking at those eye magic pictures and stare at the bottom of the cat and bam it will go which ever way i want it to due it appearing moving ony a bit in each way back and forth. haha. i love itl

  91. andy says:

    the fact of the matter is that it is only going one direction if viewed from top to bottom. It is going counterclockwise. All visual cues present tell you this. The way the lets cross eachother nd the ear placement on the head. Anything else you see is simply you fooling yourself. In a 3D generated polygon version of this image it would be going counterclockwise. the lack of depth with only its sihlouette means nothing.

  92. Anonymous says:

    looking at it in the perhiperal worked for me (looking right and left) and one time only one time after was i able to change it looking straight at it. One time each in the perhiprial and straight on it went back and forth not in a complete circle but rocked back and forth for all of a second before it went back to clockwise. super weird. my brain must want to work both sides together and thats why had a hard time with it even face on.

    whats the science does any one know

  93. Richard says:

    there is no illusion!! I figure it out.
    u can change the rotation depending on what part you will concentrate you reference of rotation..imagine yourself at the bottom of the cat, rotation is anticlockwise.. but if you put your view on the top of the cat, the direction is clockwise.

    Best to try it by letting your fingers follow the direction of rotation when looking at the top, and the at the bottom. Then you will see the difference in rotation.

  94. Jonathan says:

    It helped for me that when its spinning either ccw or cw, look up at the white space above the cat. let your mind drift off then as soon as your brain navigates away from the subject, it changes directions. wierd.

  95. KR says:

    I saw this on yahoo front page and I COULD NOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME MAKE IT SWITCH DIRECTIONS!!!

    Today I am not wearing my glasses and I can. Right before the back is to me, I look away then look right back and it has switched directions. Works like a charm.

  96. ..idk.. says:

    So what exactly does that mean when it changes? Is it brain power or something? Lol.

  97. Anonymous says:

    if you can not get it to switch, just blink rapidly and it will

  98. Jon says:

    Just counter-clockwise unless I look and stare at the grey margins on the left side of the screen (not the right side for some reason) then I can see it spin clockwise for a little bit before it switches back. It took me about 10 minutes to get that far and Im not willing to go any further with this damn cat.

  99. Walter says:

    I think I have a trick to make it switch. I could only see it going counter-clockwise, but got it to switch to clockwise.

    1.) Scroll the image up, so that only the bottom half of the cat is visible.
    2.) Stare at the corner of gray box, so the cat is in your periphery.
    3.) Blink more rapidly than normal so you’re seeing it as if it were in a strobe light.
    4.) Think about it going to other direction (even trace with your finger the direction you want it to go).
    5.) You should be able to “catch it” switching directions after a little bit.
    6.) Once it switches follow it and get used to it going the other way.
    6.) SLOWLY scroll up so you can see the whole cat.

    Once you get it to switch once, it’s easier to do it again.

  100. Kelsie says:

    this is so amazing. Now with the tips of cris i can make it change easily

  101. Joe says:

    Hahaha i materd it!!!! *After about 30 min of complete focus at the cat* lol but now i can make it rock back and forth (Facing away from me) A trick it to look at its paw and imagin it rotating the other way. Ignore the rest of the cat and just stare at the paw. i also found that covering the rest of the cat with your hands works ^^

  102. Joe says:

    Dang!!! Bad news guys… Just found out that once you get the cat to rock back and forth. it then becomes IMPOSSIBLE to make the cat rotate. All i see is it rocking back and forth now *Sob*

  103. Brian says:

    The way I do it is to just assume the cat is always facing left, right, or away from me. Then it bounces back and forth, so I can also “assume” it keeps rotating one direction, then bounces back to the other direction. I just assume the change is happening and it happens.

  104. JHERRY says:

    when you want to switch its direction, just close your eyes and imagine that the image is spinning the other direction…

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  107. Jessica says:

    I saw it both ways.:3

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    This sucks

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  117. Sharann says:

    I found this quite frustrating at first because i could not understand how to make the cat change directions. I turned away and chanted in my head “the cats going clockwise” over and over to try and convince myself and it actually worked! Im so excited

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  120. Julie says:

    No matter how long I stared at it I could only see it going one way.

  121. Anonymous says:

    it so weird they stop then change direction./

  122. Teffany says:

    I can make it change directions.

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