Many people have asked, can cats see in the dark. No animal can see in total darkness, all animals require light to see. With that being said, a cat can see far better in low light situations than a human. In starlight a cat can see as well as we can at dusk, under a full moon a cat can see as well as we can in full daylight.
Why is it that a cat can see so much better than we can? It is because of the design of their eyes. The first thing you will notice about a cat is that their eyes are large. For an animal that has such a small head they have relatively large eyes. The second major difference is the design of their pupils. A cat has pupils that are long vertical slits, where a human pupil is round. This allows the pupil of a cats’ eye to open wider than a human pupil in low light.
The rest of the differences are on the inside of the eye. Every animal has rods in the back of their eyes; these rods catch light and use it so the animal can see. A cat has thousands more of these light catching rods than a human. A cat also has a reflective membrane in the back of the eye; this membrane is called the tapetum lucidum. The tapetum lucidum is what causes cats eyes to glow when light hits their eyes. This reflective membrane reflects light back onto the rods giving their eyes a second chance to make use of all available light.
These are the differences that give a cat the ability to see well even in near total darkness. Cats are designed in this way because they hunt in near dark conditions, and need to make use of all available light. Even though a cat cannot “see” in total darkness, they are equipped with other special tools that would allow them to continue moving and hunting in total darkness.