Can Cats See In Pitch Black?

Can Cats See In Pitch Black? The “truth” is that, while cats may not see in absolute darkness as well as we do, they are evolutionarily better equipped than humans to do so.

Cats have a few tricks up their sleeves when it comes to seeing and identifying silhouettes even though there is not much light present.

Cat eyes are unique and each one contains roughly three times more rods than human retinas do. These allow for a broader view of the light spectrum and result in superior night vision capabilities.

Can Cats See In Pitch Black

There are plenty of people who have a misconception that cats are able to see in a pitch-black room full of complete darkness. The fact is that they can’t see very well in the dark because they need some light in order to pick up details. It is more advanced than our sight they only need 1/6 the number of light humans do and can actually distinguish details better in low lighting situations which is what makes them able to see in the dark better than us. Read on for more information about how it’s all possible.

Cat Vision

It is impossible to fathom the concept of the night unless we compare it to one that we already know. Cats have eyes structured in such a way that they see most clearly in dim lighting.

The pupils at the center of their eyes contract in bright light so as not to let too much light into the eye. The light enters a cat’s eye and activates its retina, which has a reflective layer behind it called Tapetum Lucidum.

The tapetum lucidum is typical with nocturnal animals, making them well adapted to living and hunting in dim light unless there is some awakening factor, like prey movement.

Pupil Shape

Humans have round pupils and so do most animals. Cats have slits instead of the round ones that we have. These slit-shaped creatures are fascinating to watch especially in the dark.

Their pupils are elliptical, which is different from ours: they let more light into their eyes compared to us humans because they’re wider than our own.

Cons And Rodes

Cats and humans have different rod/cone ratios in their eyes. Cats have eighty percent rods whereas humans have ninety-six percent cones.

Rods are sensitive to low light and make cats capable of detecting movement at night. Their vision is not as well-suited for colors as humans are, however; cats cannot distinguish between the red and yellow colors on a traffic light.

Cones are highly sensitive to brightness making them the ideal vision system for distinguishing details, colors, and focusing on objects further away.


The tapetum is like a mirror that bounces light back to sensory cells. It is the shiny green reflective surface usually seen in photographs of cat eyes or when we see cats outdoors at night.

The tapetum gives cats the ability to see better at night by increasing their night vision.

Shape And Location

Siamese cats have a third eyelid that they use to efficiently produce tears. Their eyes are placed in such a position that provides binocular vision, which is conducive for catching prey and helps them avoid threats.

Siamese cats have an abundant amount of space between their eyelids and cornea which helps them to absorb more light than other cats, according to Pet Groomer by Judy Whitworth.

Final Words

Cats have amazing night vision. With that being said, they do not see everything in the dark where they are unable to make out shadows. Their whiskers also help them detect objects better and notice any potential dangers in their surroundings. Furthermore, their acute sense of hearing helps them navigate when it’s very dark and hard to see.

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