Can Cats See In The Dark?

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Referencing a cat’s eye view is not nearly as common as talking about a bird’s eye view. Interestingly, cats have some of the most intriguing visions. How do cats see at night? We can use several thought processes to try to understand the intricate mechanisms of a cat’s eye view. These include their ability to focus, their perception of distance, color, and motion, as well as their field of view.

The intelligent design of a cat’s eye

Felines have curved cornea and big lenses. Their pupils dilate to the full maximum size in low light to allow proper penetration of light.

The receptors in their eye makeup have makeup that differs a great deal from that of humans. Cats have a higher number of rods that help in creating peripheral vision, motion sensing, and night vision. Humans are unable to perform the same functions because they have more cones than rods. The rods refresh fast enough to give the cat the ability to detect rapid motion that might not be detectable by a marauding laser.

Cats have a tapetum that acts as a reflective layer for tissue to reflect light on the antenna. The reflected light reaches the sensory cells and gets more absorption from through the retina. The glow that is visible in a cat’s eyes at night is a result of the tapetum structure.

Cats have a visual field that spans 200 degrees. This make-up contrasts with the human visible area, which spans approximately 100 to 200 degrees. This case means that cats have an acute vision of items that dissolve at the farthest malignant periphery. They, however, have a short distance limit, which averages 20 feet.

Feline photoreceptors have a keen sensitivity to color. This setup makes it appear as though cats see less color, whereas the truth is that they notice color at a much faster pace. The receptors can pick up wavelengths in the following ranges:

  • Greenish-yellow
  • Blue-violet

Cats seem to have color blindness for spectrums within the red-green bracket.

How do cats’ night vision variate from that of humans?

A recent discovery in China astonished scientists who believe that a boy has the same visual ability as a cat. Researchers rushed to find out is the boy shared the same features as a cat.

They realized that the cat has an unnatural blue tinge and tends to flash when you illuminate light. The group of researchers also, observed that the boy’s eyes have tapetum lucidum, which arose from a gene mutation or an increased amount of rod receptors.

The discovery continues to baffle scientists who believe that humans can’t have a gene mutation or rapid increase of rods in one generation. Further examination will expose how the boy compares to cats and other humans. We can, however, seek to understand how an average human eye compares to that of a cat.

Main partsPupil, lens, and retinaPupil, lens, retina and tapetum lucidum
Pupil shapeCircularElliptical
Pupil habitA slit and a circular expansionA small and broader circular expansion
Lens sizeSmallLarge
Light absorptionPasses retina oncePasses retina twice
Receptor typeConesRods
Receptor concentration350,000 rods in an mmUp to 150,000 rods in an mm
Standard vision abilityGreen-red blindnessGood color detection

Can cats see in the dark?

Have you ever wondered whether animals rely on their eyes in the dark? The phrase, ‘blind as a bat,’ may apply to a select few. It may also have little relevance when referring to the night vision of cats.

All creepy Halloween animals like owls, bats, and cats have controversial night visions. These animals also tend to have an active nightlife, which defeats any hypothesis that may suggest they have poor night vision. Their nightlife grants them the term, nocturnal. Nocturnal animals can hunt food and avoid predators with the right tactics on the darkest nights.

How do cats see at night?

The cat’s night vision has been an evolution that serves its hunting skills. Cats have become accustomed to seeing with only fifteen percent of the light humans require to establish sight. The small size of the head carries disproportionate big eyes. This setting allows the iris to recognize as much light as possible.

Cat’s eyes glow in the dark due to the reflective layer at the back of the eye, known as tapetum lucidum. This glow deceives most people to assume cats have perfect vision in pitch darkness. The truth is that cats need a degree of light to navigate dark areas.

This setup does not stop cats from hunting at night and waking us up with gifts of mice or socks forgotten in the antic. You may also be a victim of the noise from the hyperactive runs at night.

The underlying factor that allows cats to hunt and stay active in the dark is that they are crepuscular. The deduction is that their nightly habits do not have anything to do with the amount of light at night. We have one remnant main question, ‘how good is a cat’s night vision?’

Maximum light

You may have noticed that your car has a straight vertical line in its eyes during the day and wholly expanded at night. The vertical slit in the eyes is also more common when the cat is lounging around or focusing on an activity. This case is because it allows them to concentrate light on the space that matters. The enlarged eyes are convenient for letting in more light.

A 2015 study by the University of California revealed that cats have blurry vision in low light. They can experience a fold change of 135 to 300, which contrasts with the 15-fold difference in human eyes.

A cat’s eye has a built that maximizes the absorption of light. The evidence is apparent in the observation that cats do not have to blink to lubricate their eyes. The main factors that keep their eyes in tip-top shape are the composition of light receptors on the retina and tapetum lucidum.

As stated above, cats have more rod light receptors than humans, with a concentration of up to ninety-six percent. Light passes through the retina and bounces off the tapetum to reach the receptors. The tapetum gives animals’ eyes a gold or green reflection.


Cats well creep up on prey when they have to peek through the dim light. This case explains why they make more noise at night while scavenging the kitchen and other hidden spaces.

Body sensory

The limitation of the distance of sight triggered the sensitization of another visionary sensory. They can pick up subtle movements and other slight changes of light in the environment. They will, therefore, notice a light shadow of a scurrying rat, or when you cast a shadow beneath the door on your way to the fridge.

The increased body senses imitate that of a bat. They build a three-dimensional perception of the object in close range when they cannot use light to perceive the shape. The whiskers will move forward when there is prey near. This reactive motion is useful in forming a realistic web movement of the object of interest.


The feline hearing ability is incomparable to that of humans and many other creatures. It can hear up to 64GHz; hence, it will usually rely on sound to replace diminished vision. This hearing ability is an octave higher than that of a dog. They also swivel their bodies and ears to pinpoint the exact source of the sound.


Cats have a remarkable sense of smell. The feline olfactory epithelium has twice the number of receptors present in human beings. They have a vomeronasal organ at the roof of the mouth, which helps in picking chemicals from the surrounding.

The bottom line is that cats do not rely on sight solely to detect changes in the environment. They can use other sensors to make up for a less sufficient vision ability.

Do Siamese cats see in the dark?

The composition of the tapetum lucidum varies among different cat types. Siamese cats have an abnormal tapetum, which gives a blue color. The eyes of these felines have a reflection that is weaker than that of other cats. They also shine red when you concentrate a beam of light on their eyes. Consequentially, Siamese cats have slightly less thorough night vision than other cats.

Siamese cats are also more likely to experience growing problems with their visual abilities.

  • They have a recessive gene that causes a growing problem of retinal atrophy.
  • They are prone to developing feline glaucoma, which often occurs at birth. The condition causes extreme discomfort and does not have a cure. The good news is that a vet will have remedies to alleviate pain and discomfort. Take your Siamese to a vet if you notice them rubbing their eyes.

How do cats see Ultra Violet rays?

The exciting bit about analyzing the cat’s visionary of UV is that they can see black light, whereas humans cannot. A room with the illumination of UV light appears utterly dark to us and yet acutely clear to cats.

One fun fact about UV light and the human eye is that the retina receives UV. Cataract surgery makes it possible to see the UV because of the removal of the lens. Some people enjoy the newfound ability and can enjoy a painting hobby that uses UV pigments.

Most animals have a lens that allows the penetration of UV light. This ability empowers them to track camouflaged prey to follow a track of fluorescent urine.

Have you ever tripped over a cat at night? The cat may have reacted as though you ought to have had better vision. The unfortunate news is that our light perception threshold is seven times lower than that of other cats.

Do cats lose their vision with age?

Cats are not exempt from the health deterioration that affects other living beings. An older cat will exhibit the following aging symptoms in their eyes:

  • Cloudiness
  • A bluish tinge
  • An opaque white film that signifies the presence of cataracts

Other signs may not be a direct sign of aging, such as a red tinge or inflammation. They may be a result of high blood pressure or an underlying issue that is prevalent with senior cats. The diminished cat vision will negatively affect night vision. It is, therefore, prudent for you to consult a vet before diagnosing the cat from home.

Maintaining cat eye health

Supplementing a cat’s diet is vital in ensuring its optimum functionality and life longevity. This health maintenance strategy has not escaped the medical experts of animal health.

Vitapaws are at the forefront of creating the best supportive food alternatives. They sell a package of three bottles of cat minerals with highly potent quality. Investing in good tablets will support your cat’s vision for longer and ensure that they have a strong vision at night. Here is what you get from L-Lysine.

  • Prevent inflammation
  • Prevent the progression of vision loss
  • Moisturizes the eyes with the inclusion of Lysine, which is an essential amino acid
  • Support faster regeneration after an illness
  • Support a strong immunity system

Why choose our supplements?

We have a high percentage of satisfaction reviews. Our products have provided relief to clients whose cats had various eye conditions. While we do not advocate diagnosing your cat’s health without a veterinary’s intervention, we advise you to include the supplement to the prescribed medication.

The product has specific engineering to cater to the needs of cats. This setup ensures that you do not get a generic animal supplement that does not meet the biological condition of a cat. Most importantly, you will get two 90-tablet bottles of highly potent L-Lysine. The package is enough to last you a long time; hen; hence you will be saving plenty of money by choosing to spend $11.89. Check our online store before the best deals expire.

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