Can Cats See In The Dark?

Can Cats See in the Dark?

One area that I have already talked about a lot if what colors can cats see?

We know that they see differently than humans. We also know that combined with their other senses, cats have excellent nighttime vision making them the perfect little midnight hunters.

Do you ever feel like sometimes you cat is playing hide and seek with you in the middle of the night. Or you have had the wonderful experience of waking up in the middle of the night to hear your kitty destroying the throw rugs or hissing loudly at some mystical being outside the window.

Sometimes it feels like cats can see perfectly fine in the dark

Cats do have an excellent ability to see in the dark but they are not nocturnal.

Our feline friends are actually more active at dawn and dusk than they are in the middle of the night.

Can Cats Really See Better in the Dark?

Although our kitty companions can see on the darkest of nights, it’s important to call out that cats don’t necessarily “see” better in the evening than the daytime.  

Because cats were once wild, their eyes have evolved to aid them in nighttime activities. But like most creatures, their eyes still function best in daylight.

The reason we often assume cats can see so well at night is because…well, they can!

The biggest thing to understand is that cats can see better than humans in the dark.

>> You May Also Like: What Foods Can Cats Eat?

How Does a Cat’s Night Vision Differ from Humans?

The differences in cat vision and human vision start in the retina of the eye, just like in the Colors post.

The retina is the area of the eye where cells called photoreceptors are found. There are two types of these cells, rods and cones. The cones help to see in the day and detect shades of colors. The rods help with night vision and also peripheral vision (seeing from side to side).

Cats have lots and lots of rod receptors, but not as many cone receptors. This is why they can see well at night but are not great at detecting colors. (Sorry, can’t completely give away everything from that post).

Humans have less rod receptors and more cone receptors. Which means that we can see ALL the colors, but our night vision is lacking.

In What Other Ways Cats ‘See’ Better?

Beyond their incredible eyes, cats have evolved with some unique sensory abilities. Our adorable kittens have excellent senses, especially their capacity to hear and smell.  

While cats may not be able to see if ways other than humans. But their other senses are unique to humans as well. Researchers have found that a cat’s sense of smell may be more than 15 times stronger than a human’s and it may even be more sensitive than a dog’s.

Cats have a specialized organ, found on the roof of their mouth, called the vomeronasal organ. This lets them taste and smell, deeply, at the same time. If you have ever noticed your cat curling up their lip, grimacing, or licking something while breathing in, they may be using that organ to get more information about the world around them.

If you see your cat making a face that looks like disgust, chances are they are just smelling more deeply than humans can.

I always thought my cats were grossed out…and maybe that’s part of it…but not all of it.

Our feisty felines also have very sensitive hearing and can locate where a far-away sound is originating from. With their large ears, cats can pick up on quiet, high-pitched noises from great distances. Sounds like the screech of a mouse or the buzzing of a fly can be detected easily by your kitty, making them even more effective hunters.

Ever tried to sneak up on your cat when they are sleeping. Most of the time, it’s not very easy to do.

The amount of times I have been crawling on the floor so Phoebe doesn’t hear me and she lifts her head up is countless. (Yes, I am weird I know).

Conclusion

Can cats see at night? The short answer is yes, but not perfectly.

They can see better than humans at night because of the structure of their eyes, but the best eyesight still comes in the daytime!

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