How much do you know about your cat's vision? You may have noticed your cat going around the house during the night despite it being too pitch black for you to see. And you may have seen the remnants of what your cat has been up to in the night, based on the toys left strewn around the house in the morning, meaning they are more than capable of seeing during the night. But can cats see in the dark, and what do we need to know about cat vision?
Can Cats See in the Dark?
You may think that because your cat parades around the house after everyone has gone to bed means they must have night vision. While cats can see better in the dark than we can, they do not have night vision in the traditional sense. While cats can see up to 8 times better in the dark than humans, this is because of their pupils. Cats have slit-shaped pupils which control the amount of light that gets into their eyes during the day. Cats’ eyes can dilate more than a round pupil, which us humans have, and this allows more light to enter in darkened conditions. This stops light reaching their retina and damaging their eyes in daylight.
Are Cats Colour Blind?
This is a common misconception. Most people think cats can only see in black and white, but while they are not colour blind in the traditional sense, they do see colour differently. For animals to see colour, they need to have what is known as “cones, ” which are receptors in their retina. Cats are believed to be dichromats, which means they have two types of cones that see colours.
Why Do Cats’ Eyes Glow?
While the lights on the roads take their name from this common occurrence, cats’ eyes glow because there is a reflective structure in their retina. When light is shined at this structure (known as the tapetum lucidum), the structure amplifies light. This helps the cat to see in situations with lower light.
How Good Is a Cat’s Vision?
Humans generally have 20/20 vision. By comparison, cats have 20/100 to 20/200 vision. This means if a human can see an image from 100 feet, a cat needs to be 20 feet from that object for it to appear with the same clarity.
Can Cats Lose Their Vision?
Unfortunately, cats can lose their vision like humans. Apart from any traumatic injuries, one of the most common reasons cats lose their vision is due to cataracts forming. This is usually due to undiagnosed or unregulated diabetes. It is also possible for cats to have an inflammation of the middle part of their eye, known as uveitis. It is also possible for cats to suffer retinal detachment as a result of high blood pressure, which is usually associated with renal disease or hyperthyroidism.
If you want to protect your cat’s sight, the most important thing you can do is to have their eyes tested at least once a year so they can live long and healthy lives with the best eyesight possible.