Cat Tips

Can Cats See in the Dark?

Your question here looks like – Is Catwoman truly inspired by cats? The fancy suit and the impressive acrobatics are surely not fictional. We can show you some cat breeds with fancier suits, and we guess you already know about the acrobatic skills of these felines. But what about the night vision without which she’d just be another cosplayer lost in Gotham’s dark alley? Is that an imagination by DC or do real-life cats have the right to flaunt here? 

Cats seem to have a supernatural ability to navigate at night with the precision of a laser-guided missile. The secret here is that cats do not memorize the placement of all the furniture in your room during the day, but they do have extraordinary eyesight.  

Cats are nocturnal animals – meaning that they are active at night. They can see 6 times better than humans in low light. They also have a much wider vision than us. These qualities are usually attributed to evolution helping them survive in the wild. 

What Colors Can Cats See?

Cats can see colors but not as vivid as humans. The construction of their eyes limits to color vision to blue and yellow. Shades of red and green appear as grey to them – just like for people with red-green color blindness. (1)

Just like human eyes, cat eyes also contain retina – the part of the eye sensitive to light. The retina has cells called as rods that are used for seeing in low light and other types of cells called as cones that detect color. But our felines only have 2 types of cones as compared to 3 types in us. Overall, we have 10 times more cone cells than cats and hence a wider spectrum of colors available to us. (1)

Do Cats Have Night Vision?

We may have 10 times more cone cells which help us see more colors but nature did compensate for it. Cats have way more rod cells as compared to us. Because of this, they have a very superior night vision than us. 

Even their pupils can expand way more than ours. This allows more light to enter their light. This particularly helps them at night because they only need 1/6th of the amount of light that we do to see clearly. (1)

But if you ask if they can see in total darkness without night-vision goggles, the answer would be no. However, they are pretty close to it. In some cases, it may seem like total darkness to us because we aren’t blessed with in-built night-vision lenses like our felines. But our cats would be able to see with the help of the minutest of light there. (1)

And if you’re wondering if this is why cat eyes glow like shining gold in the dark, the answer is yes! 

What Colors Do Cats See Best?

Blue-violet and yellow-green wavelengths of light are the easiest for cats to see. Because of the lack of cone cells that detect the red wavelengths, red becomes the most difficult color for them to see. (3) (looks like they won’t be afraid of blood like many of us are) 

Even brown and orange are impeccable to their eyes. So, cats rely more on the brightness and movement of objects around them when viewing and navigating through the world around them. (2)

What Does a Cat’s Vision Look Like?

If you were to wear a lens that can show you things how they would look like to a cat, it wouldn’t really like to wear it for long. The vision would be quite dull and blurry. Plus, anything further than 6 meters away would look faded. This is because cats have a small range of focus. In comparison, things appear sharpest to us when they are 30-60 meters away. (2)

Nature again compensated for this by giving them a much wider vision than ours. To you, it would look like a fish-vision. 

Catwoman was not completely sci-fi after all.

More About Spot Pet Insurance

Cats may have exceptional eyesight. But you will yet need a good diet to maintain this ultra-vision of theirs. A complete diet, full of essential vitamins and other nutrients supports ocular health and allows their bodies to work better for longer.

And when a cat’s overall health comes in the picture, we are here to help you save 90% of almost all the vet expenses and much more. 

With a Spot accident and illness plan, you can take your cat for treatment at any licensed vet in Canada or the U.S. Spot plans don’t have networks, so whether you’re home or traveling within the U.S, veterinary services your cat receives for the diagnosis, treatment, or management of eligible services can be covered. Spot’s accident and illness plans can help cover a variety of conditions, ranging from broken bones and bite wounds to behavioral conditions, and cancer. While base plans do not offer coverage for preventive care services, Spot’s Wellness Riders can be added to any base plan for an additional fee and can help cover the eligible costs of wellness exams, vaccinations, dental cleanings, and more! 

Learn more about cat insurance or get a free quote. 


  1. DanielVK. (2023, February 28). Can cats see in the dark in Boston, MA? | Back Bay Veterinary Clinic. Back Bay Veterinary Clinic.

  2. Can cats see colour? | Meow Blog. (n.d.).

  3. Cat Vision: Can cats see color? (n.d.).

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