Have you ever wondered how your cat can see in near total darkness? Or how he can jump very high onto a ledge barely wide enough for his feet? Well read on! We have tried to answer all the questions you could have about your cat here. If we missed something, please ask us your question using Cat Chat .

How Do Cats See in the Dark?

Cats are nocturnal; therefore, they need good night vision. Their eyes are able to function with 1/6 the light humans require. During the day, their eyes must be able to function without being overwhelmed by too much light. How do they do that? Two shutter-like ciliary muscles control their characteristic vertical pupils, opening them wide when light is scarce and closing them down to a tiny slit in bright conditions. Cats also have a reflective layer of cells behind the retina called the tapetum lucidum. This layer recycles any light not absorbed by the retina by reflecting it back for a second pass. The tapetum is responsible for the nighttime “glowing eyes” effect because some of the ingoing light doesn’t get absorbed even after two passes through the retina. As you might guess, when seen through a cat’s eyes the world would look different. Very bright light can cause humans to see circular halos. These bright lights would create a rectangular halo in a cat’s eye. Their more strongly curved cornea allows them to see a more panoramic view, and the large rod to cone ratio means they see predominantly in black and white. Try this experiment: When your cat is in a well lit area, just sitting, notice the size of her pupil. Next, wave a teaser toy in front of her and watch those pupils! They will open big and wide instantly when she sees the teaser.

How Well Does My Cat Hear?

As you might have guessed, cats hear much better than humans. Twenty seven muscles control the large, upright part that we see called the pinna, turning them in several different directions. Cat’s ears can be a good indication of their mood, standing normally upright when content, and flat when they are angry or annoyed. When they are extremely happy or excited, you can notice their ears positioned far forward, indicating a great deal of interest. You can see her move her ears forward when you start to tease her with her favorite teaser toy!

What Purpose Do Cat Whiskers Serve?

Whiskers are an important part of a cat’s anatomy. They are course and wiry, and are found on their cheeks and eye brows. Cat’s lose an occasional whisker much like we lose eye lashes, but they are not shed in the same manner as their fur. The roots of each whisker have lots of nerve endings, and can feel differences in air pressure. Cats use their whiskers in the dark during the hunt to help them locate objects and prey. They also help them evaluate small openings. Contrary to popular belief, their whiskers will grow back if they are cut off, but it may handicap their effectiveness in the dark.

Does My Cat Need a Tail?

Cats have tails to help aid them in balancing during a fast get away or a tricky jump or maneuver. Their tails offer a counter weight when needed. If a cat has an accident which costs him his tail, his balance may be off a little until he adjusts to its absence. Some cats such as Manx cats, do not have tails. Manx cats originated from the Isle of Man, where there was a small “gene pool”, which is generally believed to be the cause of the tailless breed. Not all Manx cats are tailless. There are rumpies (no tail at all), stumpies (a small nub of a tail), rumpy risers (a tiny vestigial tail), and Manx’s with full tails. Their back legs are generally taller than other cat breeds, giving them a signature “rabbity” gait. Breeding is always done between a tailed Manx and a non-tailed Manx.

What Makes My Cat Such A Good Hunter?

Cats are extremely efficient hunters, whether a small domesticated house cat or a large wild lion. They have soft pads on their feet to make them extremely quiet when stalking. They have endless patience, waiting as still as a statue until the right moment surfaces to pounce. Their muscles are huge in size and power, and are proportionately large compared to their overall body size. The muscles are attached perfectly to form springs and levers to move their body. Their claws are sharp, largely curved, and retractable, too, so they don’t wear down and become blunt. Their teeth are made for puncturing their prey for the kill, and tearing the flesh and bone into a size that can be eaten. Their eyes are more efficient in low light conditions. Their overall stealthiness is admirable and astonishing when considered. For the cat lover, there is no better built miracle of nature, and their overall beauty cannot be matched.

Why Does My Cat Scratch?

Scratching is required behavior for your cat. Their nails grow in layers, and they scratch to stretch their muscles, which helps to remove the outer most layer of their nail to reveal the stronger nail underneath. Each nail will shed the outer most layer about every 4 – 6 weeks. Since cat’s nails are retractable, she doesn’t get stuck on the carpet or anything else unless she purposely extends them. Cats claws are important factors in hunting, self defense, balance and climbing. When veterinarians declaw a cat, they have to remove the entire digit that grows the nail. This can cause extreme pain to the cat, including nerve damage which can maim the natural way they walk. For help with scratching, go to our scratching page.