Throughout centuries, we knew that cats have been powerful nature hunter with a perfect vision, sharp claws, and flash movements. But as cat owners, we have a lot of questions around their instinct. Can cats see in the dark? How do their eyes work? What is the difference between cat eyes and human eyes? 

Cats have adorable eyes, and we usually say about them as twinkle marbles. And now we help you answer those above questions. 

Can Cats See In The Dark? 

Yes, but not totally. 

Cat eyes have a unique design that helps a lot in hunting in the dark. The rod cells focus light more effectively thanks to its round shape, while the number of eyelids helps cats reduce the time blinking. Cat rod cells come with 98 percent of light receptors in the retina instead of 80 percent in human eyes. And their refreshing speed is also high, which results in a faster vision. This explains why cats only need one-sixth of humans’ required light amount to see in the dark. 

However, this does not mean that cats can see in total darkness. They need one-sixth of humans’ required light amount. So if you want your cat to walk in the dark without bumping into anything, set up some nightlight around your house, and everything will be fine.

The tapetum lucidum is another crucial thing in cat eyes. It is a reflective layer of eye tissue lying right behind the retina. All it does is to reflect the light through the retina, talking about cats with green or golden eyes. 

So what about cats with blue eyes? They do have the tapetum lucidum, although the cells are quite abnormal as they reflect the light more weakly than normal ones. That’s why blue-eyed cats hardly see in the dark.

How Do Cats See Ultraviolet Light?

Humans have an eye lens that blocks ultraviolet light (UV), that’s why when we see in a room filled with UV, it comes totally dark. However, UV is visible with cats thanks to their lenses, which allow ultraviolet transmission. We can also see this structure in other mammals such as dogs and monkeys. 

That also means that if you replace our lens in some types of surgery like cataract surgery, you can see UV, as well. 

How Do Cats See The World?

Now you know the answer for ‘ Can cats see in the dark? ’ then switch to another one, like ‘ How do cats see the world? ’. 

Due to the dominated number of rods, cat eyes are extremely sensitive to the light levels. In exchange for this ability, the cones which are responsible for distinguishing among colors come with a smaller number. Instead of having three types of cone cells, including blue, green, and red, cats only have two – green and blue. The absence of the red cone cells results in more shades of grey, replacing the red and pink color in the world. Also, the colors through cat eyes come with less saturation. 

Now you know cat’s vision is much better than ours, but do you know that they are near-sighted? Cats are not very good at focusing on far objects. For example, if you can see a tree 500 meters away, your cat can only see a tree with the same details 100 meters away. On the other hand, they have a wide range of views (200 degrees) instead. 

When Do Cats See Maximum Light?

You sometimes see your cat’s eyes with the pupils expand as lovely marbles. Most of the time, you see their pupils are just vertical lines. It helps a lot in focusing on objects and light. When lights are coming from various directions, those pupils expand. Another reason for this is also that they feel comfortable and joyful. 

How Do Cats See The World?

Unlike humans, cats cannot see clearly close up due to the lack of muscle helping to change their eye’s lens shape. However, they still have other senses to feel the world (like humans). Their whiskers, thanks to the vibration detection, help them see surroundings through a 3D map. Instead of seeing clearly, cats track movements. Whiskers are the most effective tools for dark navigation while they connect to nerves that chase the slightest movements. 

Cats can also use their ears to feel the world. They have an incredible range of hearing compared to humans and even dogs. They can hear high pitches that go up to 64 GHz, thus becoming especially sensitive to the smallest sounds. 

What’s more, the number of receptors in cats’ nose is twice as many as humans’, so this is another means of cats to understand the world outside. 

So, cats feel the world in many other ways rather than their eyes, mainly to help in hunting. Can cats see in the dark? Yes, and additionally, they have their nose and ears to ‘see’ and hunt in the dark. 

The Bottom Line

Can cats see in the dark? Yes, but this ability is limited by many factors, and they cannot see in total darkness. How do cats see the world? They mainly use their nose and ears to feel the world, and their eyes play a significant role in chasing movements. Can I know other information about cats? Sure, but in the next post. In each post, we will share the information about a specific topic with you and leave the rest in the next post. Who wants to read a wall of text in a short time, right? 

However, if you have any questions that you can find out the answer, send them to us by leaving a comment below this post. We will try out best to help you. 

And now, have a nice day and enjoy the time with your lovely feline friend. 


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