Can cats see in the dark?
People often believe that because cats stalk around the house long after the humans go to bed, that must mean they have some kind of night vision that humans lack. As it turns out, that is only partially true.
Cats can certainly see better in the dark than humans, says Dr. Gaylord Brown, chief veterinarian at D.E.L.T.A. Rescue, a large no-kill, care-for-life animal sanctuary. “Cat’s only need about 15 percent of the light humans need to see,” he explains. But felines aren’t walking around with vivid night vision the way many people imagine.
Cats have slit shaped pupils that can control the amount of light that gets into the eye in daylight, which keeps it from getting damaged in the daylight and also manages to give more control over how much light reaches the retina. Humans, with our round pupils, don’t have the same abilities. A slit pupil can also dilate more than a round pupil, which allows more light to enter in the dark.
“It is estimated that cats can see six to eight times better in the dark than humans,” says Veterinary Ophthalmologist DJ Haeussler, who runs the Animal Eye Institute in Southern Ohio.