Can Cats See In Pitch Black?

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Asking whether cats can see in the dark may seem like a strange question. This case is because everyone seems to understand that cats have highly sensitive eyes that do well in darkness. The iridescent glow in their eyes makes it seem as though they have excellent vision. This assumption is not as accurate as we all presume. Cats do not have perfect night vision despite their glowing eyes, crepuscular hunting, and active nightlife.


The intricacies of a cat’s vision depend on its structural makeup, among other fascinating factors. Here are a few fun facts about cats’ eyes and their night vision.


  • Botts dots are known as cat eyes in the United Kingdom because they mimic the appearance of cat eyes.
  • Ancient cultures of the Middle Ages associated cat eyes with evil. They also thought that witches had cat eyes in the dark because they could conjure demonic and supernatural powers.




  • Egyptians previously believed that cats capture the glow of the setting sun so they could give it back the next morning. This belief pushed them to punish anyone who killed a cat.


How much truth is in these old and magical myths?


Importance of night vision to cats?


Darkness seems to have a healing ability to cat eyes. This case is because the light information is different in cats, whereas human vision depends on one particular region. Dysfunction of the cat’s eyes will lead to an impairment of the brain.



Scientists perform vision experiments that allow them to understand how darkness helps revive a cat’s vision. They surgically closed one of each animal’s eyes thirty days after birth to induce amblyopia. They placed half of the 27 kittens in the dark, and the other half, waited three months before starting their stay in total darkness.


The first group of kittens was blind for ten days before exhibiting a complete turnaround one week later. Ultimately, they regained perfect health and healthy vision in both eyes.


The second group had developed permanent amblyopia when they began their ten-day stay in pitch darkness. Both their eyes recovered to the point of perfect visual acuity a week after rehabilitation.


Understanding cat vision

It is impossible to understand the cat’s vision without comparing it to one that we already understand. Cat eyes function under the same light principles as humans.


The pupil at the center of the eye constricts in bright light to reduce the amount of light that enters the eye. The light travels to the back of the eye to activate the retina, which has a light-sensitive lining at the back. Cats have a particular reflective layer known as Tapetum Lucidum, which is a Latin name. The tapetum lucidum is typical with nocturnal animals, making them well adapted to lighting and dusk and dawn.


The layer acts as a mirror and reflects light to the next spot in the retina, which gives rod cells another chance to absorb the information. The tapetum reflects the light out of the eye when we shine a headlight on the cat’s face. The reflection makes the cat’s eyes appear yellow or green.



Blue-eyed cats like the Siamese also have a tapetum lucidum. The difference is that the cells have abnormal makeup. The eyes of the cats do not shine as blue or green when you shine a light on their face; instead, they reflect a red color. This case is because the eyes have a weaker reflection that makes the cats see less efficiently than other cats.


The rounded shape of the cornea captures and focuses light on the right spots.


How do cat eyes differ from human eyes?



Cat eyes have a biological makeup that allows them to continue with their night hunts, whereas humans have eyes that are most suitable for daytime activities. We need great color vision to help us identify different light settings during the day.


Cats need eyes that have a high sensitivity to eyes because they are equally as active in low lights as they are during the day. Cat eyes seem to notice different shades of grey, instead of a splurge of colors.


The human cones pick three different peaks of colors:
  • Blue
  • Red
  • Green
Cats’ sensitivity to color is within the following shades:
  • Gray
  • Blue-violet
  • Green-yellow

The colors tend to lose their intensity as the distance increases. This setting makes them see the same way as a shortsighted person.




Rodes and cons

These differences mean that cats and humans have different proportions of rod and cone cells. Cat eyes have eight times more rods than those present in human eyes – eighty percent of all cells in cat eyes are rods whereas the cells in human eyes are ninety-six percent cone cells. They can see ideally well at low lights, whereas humans tend to struggle because we can only see fifty percent of what cats see at night.


Rod cells have more sensitivity than cones. They help humans pick up visions when the light is too low. We use them to distinguish objects and shades of gray. Cones are sensitive to brightness; hence, they are conducive to the selection of color and focus on complex objects.

Tapetum layer

Human eyes do not have a tapetum layer. Any light that reflects appears red, which is indicative of the right color of the retina. The presence of Tapetum Lucidum would make the day’s light too unbearable because the retina would have an overwhelming amount of light.

Shape and location

The third eyelid between the cornea and the eyelid has a gland that produces tears at the bottom of the lid. The placement of the cat’s eyes gives it an advantage in how to absorb light. The ample space gives it a binocular vision that provides in-depth perceptivity, which is conducive to catching prey.





Another distinctive feature different from human eyes is that cats can dilate their pupils more than humans can. This case means that they can let in more light to the rod cells than the human eye.


The pupil is the hole that lets light come in from various angles. A vision scientist at the University of California explains that the shape and behavior of the pupil are indicative of the animal’s behavior. The clear pattern shows that the vertical slit is familiar to ambush predators. The animals lie in wait and leap to kill their prey after accurately judging the distance.


Slit pupils close tightly and handle a wider variety of light conditions. Species that are more active in the daytime do not have slit pupils. Cats have the same eyes because they have spent the majority of their evolution journey hunting prey in dark corners and the nighttime.


How does the slip shape of the cat’s pupil offer more advantages?

The Chief Medical Officer at Animal Medical Center, Mr. Goldstein, states that the shape gives cats better vision than most animals. The cat can adjust to various lighting conditions and control the amount of light that reaches the retina.


A cat can alter the intensity that reaches the retina. It can control this aspect 135-fold in comparison to the human eye. Moreover, the slit protects the retina against harsh daylight.


How do cats see in the dark?

As stated above, cats have highly specific adaptations to vision. The understanding gets fuzzy when we have to differentiate between seeing at night and seeing in the dark.


Cats can see objects with the dimmest lighting or just a sprinkle of it. They, however, do not have any natural settings that allow them to see in total darkness. This means that your cat will do fine outdoors when your street has enough security lights and illuminated signage.





How do they see black light?

Blacklight or ultraviolet light is invisible to the human eye. A room that is lit by UV light is completely dark to the human eye. This case is because the human eye tends to block UV rays, whereas other mammals like monkeys, dogs, and cats have lenses that can permit UV transmission. The increased ability allows them to track fluorescent light on urine trails of camouflaged prey.


It is, however, essential to note that the human eye can perceive UV light. Removal of the lens such as in the case of cataract surgery, helps people pick up UV light. This was evident with Monet, who began painting using UC pigmentation.


What are other ways that cats see in the dark?

The truth is that animals use different means to perceive the world around them. They can sensitize other features that help them understand the objects without using their eyes. Here are a few important ones:


Whiskers have connections to other nerves in the body. They, therefore, have a sensitivity to movement around their body’s space, which helps in forming a three-dimensional map. This case explains why they walk with the whiskers pointed forward and outwards to create a web-like movement. They pick up breezes and walk through tall grass and cluttered space with grace.


Cats use their ears to map out their environment. They can hear pitches up to 64GHz higher than the octave range of a dog’s hearing. You may notice that your cat swivels their ears to the source of the sound, in a similar fashion as dogs.


Cats rely on smell to detect changes in the environment. The cat’s olfactory epithelium has twice the number of receptors as those present in humans. Cats have an additional feature at the roof of their mouth, the vomeronasal organ. This organ helps in detecting chemicals in different smells.





What affects night vision negatively?

A cat’s eyes perform miraculous functions of converting small amounts of light rays into understandable information. All various parts need to be healthy for the eye to have an acute vision in all lighting conditions. Unfortunately, cats are prone to contracting illnesses like all other living beings.


Certain illnesses may cripple the day’s eyesight and harm the night’s vision. Here are the most common conditions:
  • Glaucoma – More pressure inside the eye
  • Watery eyes – A possible reaction from allergies that causes the overproduction of tears
  • Cataracts – Cloudiness in the eyes
  • Corneal ulcers – Causes a chemical burn in the cornea
  • Eye infection – This could be due to a bacterial infection from the environment
  • Conjunctivitis – Causes an inflammation that prompts the eyes to twitch constantly

How to support your cat’s eyesight

Foods may not be sufficient for a cat that has problems with digestion, metabolism, and other related conditions. Consequentially, you should consider introducing highly potent supplements to their diet.


Best cat vision supplement

Pet Supplements is a revered seller of animal supplements both offline and online. They have an advanced cat formula that boosts the cat’s overall health and revitalizes the eyes’ health. The manufacturers formulate a unique supplement that supports the foundational processes within the eyes and ensures that your pets stay vigilant at all times of the day.





Why Pet Supplement has the best formula


This mineral is a life changer in several aspects. It slows down the progression of vision loss and reduces inflammation and damage by harsh sun rays. The increased health helps the cat maintain clear vision at night.



This essential amino acid is responsible for maintaining well-moisturized skin and eyes.



This antioxidant reduces the risk of eye infections by supporting a robust immune system.



This element contains antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavonoids, which are critical in the health of the cardiovascular system.


Pet Supplements sells a pack of three bottles of Eye Health Complex at a throw-away price of $46 and a free shipping offer. This arrangement means that you could support the health of your cat’s eyes for longer while still affording professional vet care. Each bottle has a rich content of the indicated elements and more, in 60 pills. Check out from the store today and observe the change in your cat’s body, energy, and lifestyle, due to the radical change in their health.




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