do cats see in the dark? Cats are said to have keen eyes, especially in the dark. As hunters, animals depend on their ability to see well and react quickly, even in poor light. In order to be successful in hunting, they must turn to their prey. The classic game animals of cats are mice, that is, animals that often use the protection of twilight and darkness in search of food. So it is clear that cats such as owls or martens can see well in the dark to catch their prey. However, cats also need a certain amount of residual light to see. However, this is significantly less than that of humans. If there is no light, cats can no longer see anything at night.
how well can cats see in the dark
The cat’s eye is slightly different from the human eye, in part because it developed into a night hunter. There are photoreceptors in the retina of the vertebrate eye. These are light sensitive cells that transmit an impulse to the optic nerve when excited by light. These photoreceptors are divided into rods and cones. Cones transmit light of different wavelengths as “color” to the brain, while rods are responsible for seeing light and dark. Cats have many more rods in their retinas than humans. Therefore, cats can see better in the dark than humans. Because because of the increased number of chopsticks in the cat’s eye, a cat needs only one-sixth of the amount of light the human eye needs to see something else. Instead, they have fewer cones, which means cats’ color vision is less developed.
Is that why cat eyes shine at night?
Another anatomical structure helps cats see in the dark: The so-called “tapetum lucidum” is a layer of cells behind the retina in cats. Like a reflector, the light is thrown back and passes back through the retina on its way back. This increases the “light output” of the eye. You can see this reflective cell layer when a cat’s eyes are illuminated in the dark: they glow. Because so much light penetrates the tapetum from the wide-open pupils of the cat’s eyes that this flash of light can be perceived by the human eye.
Sensitive cat’s eye
Now the question remains, what do the cat’s light-sensitive eyes do in full sunlight? But here too, the cat’s eye is perfectly adapted: In order to reduce the amount of incoming light, the pupil, which is fully open in the dark, is narrowed into a slit so that less light can penetrate.
In fact, cats are very well adapted to seeing in the dark. And if the cat’s eyes aren’t enough, they still have whiskers and exceptionally good hearing to orient themselves in the dark.
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