The cat is an animal that astonishes, captivates. He is the object of many superstitions and at the heart of many legends… He is also credited, sometimes wrongly, with certain skills such as seeing at night. However, even if he is certainly much more comfortable than his master in the dark, let’s not imagine that a cat can see as well at night as in broad daylight. Let’s take stock of the issue.
The Cat, A Really Sharp-Eyed Nocturnal Hunter?
If the cat is free to go out as it wishes, it does not hesitate to take to their heels as soon as night falls through the cat flap that its master has taken care to install. The night the little feline likes to indulge in his favorite pastime, the hunt and incidentally it also chooses the night period to mate.
The night is therefore a special time during which the cat is very quiet. No extraneous noise disturbs him, the smells are clearer, and it is not the darkness that will bother the kitty since he is nyctalope. To put it simply, let’s say that at night, the cat can distinguish many things, but he finds himself as clumsy as his master when there is no source of light, however small it may be.
Why Do Cats See Better Than Their Owners When It’S Dark?
Cats have organs of sight very sensitive to light and his pupils are able to dilate at the slightest light source. As they expand, they capture the light and then every ray of light is reflected by the reflective membrane behind the retina. This is how you can see the eyes of the cat shine in the night (like those of the raccoon and many other animals).
The cat has a choroidal carpet also called light carpet (Tapetum lucidum) thanks to which his eyes become luminescent. Under certain conditions the animal’s visual acuity is improved at night compared to that of humans, who do not have Tapetum lucidum.
Can The Cat See In Total Darkness?
At the risk of breaking a myth, we must answer “No” to this crucial question. The cat is unable to see at night if there is no light source for in such conditions of total darkness, the cat’s pupils have not an ounce of light to pass through, so that no ray of light can be reflected.
It should therefore be remembered that a cat sees about 8 times better than a human when the light is very low. However, in absolute darkness, a cat sees nothing and is, suddenly, housed in the same boat as his master, that is to say quite incapable of distinguishing his environment.
And if we wish to push the comparison further between the sight of a cat and that of its master, we can affirm that the cat sees more blurred. We also know that his vision is dichromatic, that is to say that it is based on two types of receivers and that this physiological basis influences the visual perception of colors. So the cat can’t distinguish red, unlike his master who is a trichromat. The small feline, on the other hand, has a field of vision of 260°, therefore much greater than that of humans. Finally, we should also note that the cat does not see very clearly the immobile objects located at a distance unlike humans.