Can Cats See In The Dark?

May 28, 2019

Can Cats See In The Dark?

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night to find your cat widely and wildly awake?

If you have had a cat for long enough, you most definitely have. Being the notorious pets that they are, nights are a time for cats when they are ancestrally wired to hunt.

So next time you find your cat running behind a moth that you can’t even spot in the dark, don’t be surprised.

Why?

Read on to find out…

I Spy a Different Eye!

In this section of the blog post, we’ll take you through the concept of how a cat’s eye is different than ours.

Cats (and dogs) have quite a different composition of eyes as compared to ours. Obviously, they have the retinas and the photoreceptor cells, the membranes, and the pretty lashes, however, the concentration of rod cells is far greater.

Let’s make it simpler.

The cells that trap light for us are called photoreceptor cells, which are of two types; rods and cones.

Rods help us with night vision, peripheral vision and motion sensation. Whereas cones help us with day vision and color perception.

So logically, more rods means better night vision, more cones means better color perception. Cats and dogs and other similar animals have a greater concentration of rods while we humans have a better concentration of cones.

This makes cats capable of seeing in about one-sixth of the amount of light that humans need to see.

Not only that, if you may have noticed, your cat’s irises that are mere splits during the day, get enlarged to spheres like our irises during the night. Reason: they dilate to allow more light through the lens. This makes their vision blurry, but brighter nonetheless.

All That Glitters…

With all the superior vision powers that the cats get at night, their eyes also seem to have a blue-green glow.

That is because they have this specialized structure behind their retina called tapetum.

Tapetum does the magical work of reflecting the light back to the photoreceptors, making your cute pet’s eyes glow in the dark.

Which may or may not look cute.

You’re warned of possible midnight scares!

If you have any exciting stories of your cat’s antics at night, don’t hesitate to share in the comments section!


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