Can Cats See In The Dark?


Cats are very active at night chasing a mouse around the house, especially on the roof.That is strong evidence of cats can see in the dark, but not too convincing. Let’s find out the real answer to this topic!

Feline pets are not nocturnal as everybody concludes. They are actually crepuscular animals which means being active around dawn and sundown. With that, cats cannot still perfectly see in the dark. The truth is no one can really see when all light is blocked unless some level of light is available. Just like humans,our feline friend can see in very low light areas.

To know more about the cat’s vision, read until the end of this post.

About Cat’s Vision

Cats cannot focus well on distant objects but have a better night vision than humans. They have a blurry vision but can see in a wider field with 200 degrees vision compared to 180 degrees for humans.They are attentive to subtle movements and light changes that push them to respond quickly.

Cat’s Eyes Intelligent Design

Perhaps the reason for the cat’s unique vision is on the design of their eyes. They have big eyes in a different color. Most parts of it are similar to human eyes like the pupil, retina, lens, and many more.

Below are the parts of the cat’s eyes with their functions for low-light situations.Let’s take a glance at their mysteries!


Cat’s eyes can collect maximum light when the pupil dilates to full circles.This happens more oftenat night. On daytime,their eyes are an as straight vertical line that allows them to focus. The more it dilates, the more light can enter the eye.

However, the cat’s night vision is a bit blurry but can experience 135 to 300 fold-changes compared to humans with only 15 fold-changes.


As long as light enters the pupil, it will activate the retina. It is located at the back of the eye with a light-sensitive layer lining.

The two cells called rods and cones are responsible for magnifying light impulses. Cats do have 25 out of 26 cells more than humans have. It helps to let cats see the world in far greater detail.

On the other hand, cones have less room in the retina than rods. They are the eye’s color receptors in three peak color sensitivity. Cats see the world less saturated compared to human’s sight. They see things blurry from a distance just like a near-sighted person can see.


Behind the retina is the tapetumlucidum which is a reflective layer of the cat’s eyes. This is the reason why their eyes glow and turn into another color whenever reflected by a bright light.The light that enters through the retina will go towards the tape tum and then back to receptors.

Some cat breeds have abnormal cells even they have a tapetumlucidum on which causes them to not see in the dark. Examples are Siamese and other blue-eyed cats.


Cats have a larger lens than humans. It helps them to see things in a wider aspect both day and night in different quality to human’s eyes.Cat’s lenses permit ultraviolet or black light, unlike humans. This unique trait helps them to track urine trails and other camouflaged prey.


Cat’s cornea is different from humans in some ways. It is the clear outer portion covering the eye with thin layers. Light will hit these cells before the retina.

Other Ways Cats See in the Dim

More than a cat’s eyes design, there are other senses used by cats to see in the dark, which includes the following:

The Whiskers

Cats easily detects light vibrations within their vicinity through the help of whiskers, connected to nerves. It works to help cats detect any object coming their way. For example is when cats walk through the field at night, they will not panic in running to objects they cannot see.


Cat’s hearing range is at a low frequency compared to human hearing. They can hear up to 64 GHz which is higher than the dog’s range. Felines do swivel their ears to discover where the sound is coming.


Another way of cats to see in the dark is through their nose. Their nose system has many more receptors than humans. To add up is the vomero nasal organ found in the roof of their mouths which helps them to smell chemicals. Though cats are having a hard time seeing in the dark, they can use this sense to still understand their environment.

Cat’s Vision Demonstration

Cat’s vision differs during daytime and nighttime, compared to us humans. We will try to portray how cats see the world through words below.

Their daytime eyesight is somewhat blurry because of too much light. They cannot handle the abundant amount of light very well unlike human eyes. Cats feel overly exposed to light because of the rods in the retina.

On the other side, a cat’s night vision is more detailed in a low light situation. They can see a clearer image magnified by the limited light during the night. Humans at this point are having a hard time seeing in detail.

Overall, cats have indeed unique eyesight. It differs a lot from human vision. They are different in the daytime and at night.And yes, cats can see in the dark but not in total darkness.

Final Answer

With the gathered information above, cats won’t see clearly in the dark but their night vision is higher than humans. Things around them appear in a limited color vision in shades of blue and green. A little light might help cats to have a wonderful night vision to catch rodents in the dark.Thanks to their intelligently designed vision!

I hope the facts about the cat’s vision meet your needs. Share this post with your friends taking care of cats! It may help them to understand the wonders of their pet’s vision in the dark.

For more studies about feline pets,just visit this site. Thanks!


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