Why do Cats’ Eyes Glow in the Dark

Why do Cats’ Eyes Glow in the Dark

by Michael
(London, UK)

This is the answer to the question, “Why do cats’ eyes glow in the dark”?

Cat have excellent night vision and are able to see things that we cannot. This is thanks to an image intensifying device  behind the retina at the rear of the eye. This device  is a light reflecting layer called the “tapetum lucidum”. In a literal sense this Latin or scientific phrase means, “bright carpet”. It acts as a mirror to the light entering the cat’s eye that hits the retina. It reflects the light back onto the retina once it has passed through. This boosts the amount of light that the retina receives. It means that a cat’s eyes use more of the light that is received by absorbing more of it.

cats eyes glowing in the dark

Cats cannot, however, see in pitch black conditions as under these conditions there is no light to boost. Under very dark conditions cats can rely on their acute sense of smell and hearing plus those amazing whiskers that can feel currents of air as it passes around and over objects thus telling the cat that something is there.

From Why Do Cats’ Eyes Glow in the Dark to Why Do Cats

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Photo: by guy schmidt

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Why do Cats’ Eyes Glow in the Dark

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Feb 04, 2010
by: Anonymous

why do cat or can they see ghost at night or at day time. Could they sense danger in the house

Aug 27, 2009
Thank you
by: Ruth

I’ve now got a handy ‘why do?’ folder on my favourites filling up fast.
Thanks for all these Michael.

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About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!

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