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Posted by on Jan 14, 2015 in TellMeWhy |

How Can Cats See in the Dark?

How Can Cats See in the Dark?

Cats see in the dark with the help of tapetum lucidum. A cat’s eye contains a special reflecting membrane called the (tapetum lucidum).

This mirror like lining enables the cat to see in dim light by reflecting light rays back to the light sensitive cells of the eye. It also reflects the light from your flashlight and causes the cat’s eyes to glow brightly.

Cats’ elliptical eye shape and larger corneas and tapetum, help gather more light as well. The tapetum may also shift the wavelengths of light that cats see, making prey or other objects silhouetted against a night sky more prominent.

Cats see in the dark with the help of their light-reflecting eyes which allow them to see better than much of their prey. Cats also enjoy acute hearing. All cats are nimble and agile, and their long tails aid their outstanding balance.

Cat’s eyes can adjust themselves to different amounts of light. In bright light, the pupils shrink to narrow slits. In dim light, they widen and become great circles, allowing more light to enter.

Their eyes have six to eight times more rod cells, which are more sensitive to low light, than humans do. But even with its amazing eyes, a cat cannot see in total darkness.

The cats’ skill in killing rodents may have first earned the affectionate attention of humans. Early Egyptians worshiped a cat goddess and even mummified their beloved pets for their journey to the next world—accompanied by mummified mice! Cultures around the world later adopted cats as their own companions.

Content for this question contributed by Tina Olson, resident of Marinette, Wisconsin, USA