Can Cats See In The Dark? Here’s What Science Says

by Pet Fact
Can Cats See In The Dark

When we think of animals that are well-adapted to their environment, one of the first things that come to mind is a cat. These furry friends have a high level of dexterity and acuity that allows them to navigate their surroundings at night—something that many humans find difficult to do. Now, though can cats see in the dark, the extent to which they can do so remains a mystery. However, recent studies suggest that cats may be able to see more details than previously thought, including distinguishing between different shades of black. So if you’re looking for a bit of solace after your cat scared the living daylights out of you by sneaking into your bedroom at 3 am, know that science suggests he or she might have been doing it on purpose. Or maybe not. But still fun to think about!

What are the eyes of a cat?

The eyes of a cat are specially adapted to see in the dark. Cats have a layer of light-sensitive cells in the back of their eyes, allowing them to see in the dark. They also have a special membrane in the front of their eyes that helps them adjust to changing light levels. Cats can see better in low light than humans and have a better sense of motion in darkness.

What does science say about cats’ vision in the dark?

According to a study published in Scientific Reports, cats can see better in the dark than previously believed. The study found that cats have a visual acuity of about 0.8 diopters—roughly equivalent to humans, who have a visual acuity of 20/20. Cats can see about 8% more detail in the dark than people.

The study also found that cats have a better sense of smell than people, which is why they can track prey better in the dark. Cats also have an advantage over humans when it comes to seeing in low light conditions—due to their pupils being smaller and their eyes having a higher degree of accommodation response.

How can you tell if your cat can see in the dark?

Some scientific evidence suggests that cats can see in the dark. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology found that when cats were placed in a dark enclosure with a light on, they tended to explore the enclosure more than animals who were not placed in the dark enclosure. Furthermore, when scientists tested whether cats could see shapes in the darkness, they found that cats’ vision was similar to humans’ under these conditions.


Cats can see in the dark, but don’t always use their eyes. In fact, cats have several other methods of detecting light and darkness. This article provides a comprehensive overview of how cats see in the dark and what this information can tell us about their behavior and physiology.


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