Can cats really see in the dark?

If you've ever lived with a cat, you know that they can be incredibly active at night, often running up and down aisles.

Given their ability to avoid confrontation during these nocturnal exercise sessions, you might think that cats have natural night vision.

According to Carin Plummer, a clinical veterinary ophthalmology specialist at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, this isn't exactly the right question to ask.

Plummer explained that the amount of ambient light affects what a person—whether a human or a cat—can see.

However, compared to humans, cats are far better at making objects when there is very little light available, and this is largely due to their developed eyes.

"Cats can see in the dark because the structure of their eyes, and in particular their retinas, allow them to have 'better' vision than humans, when light levels are low."

"Cats have a higher percentage and concentration of rod photoreceptors than humans, which means they have better sensitivity to light, and can see more in low light levels than we can."

"Cats are dichromats, which means they have two types of cone photoreceptors compared to our three types, so they don't see as many colors or shades as we see."

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