Can Cats See in the Dark?

Some people think that cats have night vision and can see perfectly clearly in the dark. This isn’t exactly true—cats don’t have night vision, but they can see much better than a human in low light! Here, your veterinarian Rochester, NY tells you why your cat’s vision is superior when it’s dark. 

Unique Pupils

Most mammals, including humans, have circular pupils. But Fluffy’s pupils are elliptical, meaning that they can push more light into the eyes in low light. This vertical pupil shape basically allows your cat to get more light into her eyes at night time. 

Rods and Cones

Your cat’s eyes contain rods and cones, just like yours. But she has about six to eight times the number of rods as you—and that improves her night vision drastically. In fact, cats have a large number of rods and a low number of cones, which is the exact opposite of the human eye. 

Tapetum Lucidum

The tapetum lucidum is essentially another eyelid that helps to reflect light back into the eye and boost Fluffy’s vision in the dark. Dogs have it, too! 

To learn more about your cat’s vision, or to make an office appointment, call your animal hospital in Rochester, NY.

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