Cats and Their Superpowers: Can They Really See in Total Darkness?

cat in the dark.jpg

Cats are amazing creatures and there are so many things about them that we love and twice as many interesting facts about them that keep us intrigued.

One of those unique things about our feline best friends is that they have a special kind of night vision that few other animals have.

Not only their eyes glow in the dark like the flash on your phone, mesmerizing you with their mysterious appearance, but these enchanting eyes have the ability to spot the movement better than an infrared device in the night.

At least that is what we are told as their human buddies.

But, is it actually true?

What is so unique about cats' eyes and can our furry friends really see that well in the pitch black? Well, if these questions popped into your head, you are in the right place. So, let's get to know our feline besties a bit better, shall we?


How Cats’ Eyes Work

What makes cats such awesome hunters at night?

Well, to start from the basics, it is obvious that cats don’t see the world with the same eyes as us. Matter effect, while we have the gift to see all the different shades and colors, cats are more night time creatures, but they do not see the world the same way as we do, and their perception is definitely not as colorful as ours.

But, can cat see color?

How different is their vision from ours?

Well, the truth is, we are gifted with the ability to see in color and they have another gift, and that is extreme in very low light. Their rod cells and cone cells are pretty much different than ours, which is why they see everything in the shades of gray and some fragments of color, but they see it as sharp as the highest quality camera does, all thanks to a higher number of rod cells than we have.

Rod cells are those cells that help all living creatures that have them see in low light so to understand how sharp cats' night vision is, think about your own vision at low light and multiply that around six or seven times.

Yes, that’s how awesome their night vision is. However, just like us, once the light is turned off and the pitch-black atmosphere takes over the room, cats can’t see, as they also need at least some light to be able to spot things in the dark.

When it comes to color, they are not able to see yellow and green, which is why you may slip them some veggies in the diet without them making a fuss.

A joke on the side, while they can’t see and differentiate colors not as nearly as we can, they actually can see some shades of bluish and purplish stuff.

Their eyes act like a filter that is very fond of cold undertones, so you can picture that as taking a photo and adding a cold duo-colored filter, with shades of violet and blue being the most predominant.

You get the picture.

Their world kind of leans towards the black and white, but unlike other animals, with cats, it is not all black and white, but more shades of cold colors mixed with black and white.

All of this means that they simply need less light than us to be able to see things, but unlike the popular belief, they can’t see in absolute darkness.

Their night-hunting superpowers steam from a bigger number of cone cells and believe it or not, the power of whiskers.

Their whiskers are their antennas that help them stay oriented in any conditions and it is their whiskers that make them not only adorable but highly effective hunters as well.

They help them stay in tune with the environment and receive necessary sensory information to stay so alert as they naturally are.

Yes, it is almost like having superpowers. It’s like hen you adjust the satellite to get the tv to work properly so you don’t have to stare at the noise on the screen.

So, these super antennas, combined together with some extra cone cells are actually what makes them such effective hunters at night.

Cat Eye

Their amazingness doesn’t stop there

Besides having brilliant orientation super-hairs on their face to help them spot and chase the pray at very low light conditions, and extra cells they are gifted with that help them see better than you do, Cats have an amazing peripheral vision as well.

This means they have a wider field of view than you do and which further means that just because they aren't looking directly at you that doesn't mean they don't see you.

They keep their eye on everything in their environment and all because of this capability to spot not only things that are in front of them but are located on their left and right side as well.

Speaking of their blue and violet world, some scientists believe that these feline friends can even see in ultraviolet, which is beyond amazing.

Seeing Ultraviolet Light (UV or black light) is a real gift, and if the science keeps researching and finds out this is absolutely true, it will almost be scary to think how capable these creatures are.

Being able to see in the ultraviolet is found in some animals and its purpose is to help animals survive in this crazy world, which means that they may be able to see the things we humans probably ever will with the naked eye or without the help of highly developed technology.

With such an agile body, decent vision, superpowers, and whickers who wouldn't be a great hunter?