Dear Christopher Cat
My wife leaves night lights on so our cats can find their food, water and litter box at night. I think cats can see in the dark, so night lights are silly. Who is right?
You both are. We cats can’t see in pitch dark conditions, so your wife is being very considerate.
But we do have far better nocturnal vision than you humans. We can detect light that is seven times dimmer than what you can see.
One reason for this is that we have a reflector in the back of each eye, behind the retina.
It’s called the tapetum lucidum, and it reflects light that passes through the retina back onto it. It works so well that 130 times more light hits the cat retina than the human retina.
In addition, our retinas contain more rods, visual receptors sensitive to dim light, than your human retinas.
By the way, dogs have better nocturnal vision than humans too, but it’s not as good as ours. Just one more way cats are superior to dogs!