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Why Do Cat Eyes Glow?

There is no limit to the ways in which cats can intrigue and captivate us. When it gets dark, a cat's eyes shine brightly—but why is that?

Animal obesity

Cats can see in the dark because light that isn't captured by their eyes is reflected back at us from a special mirror-like structure called the tapetum lucidum.

Night Sighting

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Avoiding Dangers

Cats are most active at twilight and dawn, when the light is least intense, so their glowing eyes are essential for seeing their surroundings and detecting potential dangers.

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Don't Worry if you can't see it?

A cat's eyes don't 'glow,' they simply refract ambient light. First, we need to examine the structure of a cat's eye to determine the reason for eyeshine.


Cat eyes are very comparable to human eyes, despite their striking visual differences.

Human and Cat Eyes

Eyeshine is caused by visible light that is not captured by the retina and instead reflects off of the tapetum lucidum before leaving the eye.


Most cats have an eyeshine that is green in color, but cats’ eyes can also reflect white or blue.

Green Eyes

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Proper Lighting

Under the proper lighting, a cat's eyes will shine. There's a chance you won't see your cat's eyeshine if the light isn't just right.