Cats Love Prowling at Night, But How Is Their Vision in the Dark?

Posted by Christy Caplan

If you're ever lost in the dark, can you rely on your cat to lead you home?

We all know that dogs have a better sense of smell than cats, and cats are more agile than dogs, but who has the best night vision?

With the help of Royal Veterinary College's senior ophthalmologist Dr. Rick Sanchez, a team at the BBC was determined to find the answer to this pressing question.

Although the test may not be the most scientifically rigorous one, the results are pretty obvious. Watch the video below to see for yourself:

As you can see, the cat's night vision is far superior to the dog's. The cat is quick to show off its skill, breezing through the maze like it's walking through an empty, sunlit room.

So, there you have it! When it comes to night vision it's cats-1, dogs-0. Better luck next time, doggies!

Can cats 'really' see in the dark?

Cat Senses explains the biology behind a cat's keen sense of "night vision":

"In the dark, a cat's pupil expands to an area three times larger than a human's dilated pupil. This allows the tiniest glimmer of light to enter the eye. A cat's night vision is enhanced by a reflective layer behind the retina called the tapetum lucidum. Any light entering the eye that is not caught by the retina bounces off the tapetum and travels back through the retina, increasing the eye's sensitivity by up to 40 percent."

Can cats see color?

Cats do see color, but it is not as important to them as their night vision. They can see blues and yellows, though it's believed reds and greens probably appear more like grays.

Cats have great peripheral vision

Cat vision isn't as sharp as humans. Generally, cats are farsighted up to about one foot in front of them -- Their vision is more attuned to detecting movement. Naturally-gifted with binocular vision allows cats it to have success as hunters, including judging depth better than most.

When it comes to pitch black total darkness, our feline friends have an advantage in complete darkness! Of course, we know that cat's vision is better than a dog's vision, we were happy though to see the proof in the above video that cats have better night vision.

Aren't these fun cat facts? If you have more technical questions you should consult your DVM. Just remember that human vision isn't nearly as good as cat vision.

We love it when we see eyes glowing especially on our Siamese cats!

Have you ever seen your cat chase something in the dark? Please leave us a comment below. 

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Cats Love Prowling at Night, But How Is Their Vision in the Dark?