START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good

5 Crazy Cat Anatomy Facts

  • 1 of 5
5 Crazy Cat Anatomy Facts

Curiosity about cats has followed humankind since the days before Egyptian pharaohs treasured them as signs of good fortune. Much more is known today about what makes these graceful critters tick, yet we’re still mesmerized by a cat’s nighttime eyes and find comfort in the mysterious vibration of a gentle purr. Taken individually, the bits and pieces of cat anatomy and behavior are a crazy quilt of Morse code, text messaging and DIY survival tips. Together, they’re a medley of fun facts that add up to a fur-covered package of intrigue. Let’s look at five unusual cat anatomy facts.

5. Eyes That Glow in the Dark

Green, gold, blue or yellow, cats’ eyes are fascinating orbs that gleam in darkness. Think of the famous Cheshire cat, whose eyes and grin taunted Alice in Wonderland. Use a flashlight beam to observe your cat in a darkened room. That spooky shine is visible even in dim light.

Cats’ eyes have pupils that are larger than humans’, and are controlled by a pair of shutter-like ciliary muscles, creating the cat’s distinctive slit-like pupil in bright light. In darkness, light hitting feline eyes is reflected from a mirror-like membrane behind the retina. This structure is called the tapetum lucidum, and is present in the eyes of cats, dogs, some fish and birds, and other nocturnal hunting animals.

When light enters a cat’s eyes, it goes through the retina, where light-sensor cells, called rods and cones, absorb it. Any unabsorbed light reaches the tapetum lucidum and bounces back to the retina, enabling it to take in more light. Animals with the tapetum lucidum have greater night vision because it lets them absorb more light. This is a great help when looking for prey at night. Cats need only about one-sixth of the light humans need to function in the dark.

  • 1 of 5

Read more: Behavior & Communication, Cats, Do Good, Pets, , , , , ,

By Kathy Blumenstock, Animal Planet

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love


+ add your own
6:54AM PDT on Jun 21, 2014

Awesome, thanks for sharing!

12:48AM PDT on May 7, 2014

The relaxing sound of my beloved cat purring in my arms is one of the most enjoyable sounds in the world for me.

1:42AM PDT on Apr 28, 2014


1:40AM PDT on Apr 28, 2014

thanx for sharing

8:27PM PDT on Apr 25, 2014

Thank you

7:03PM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

yes, U think that the purring is the biggest mystery of the universe ... after the big bang and it will remain a mystery as ling as life will go on on earth. I can stay hours listening to my kitties purring ...

12:10PM PST on Mar 2, 2014

We call the quivering tail the tail dance. Jake the Kitty often does it when canned food is on the way, or when we come home after being out a long time. In fact, he usually seems to do it to signal excited delight.

Then there was my brother. The first time he saw Jake's tail dance, he started screaming we needed to take him to the vet right away because he was having a 'tail seizure.'

Funny thing, we were both raised with cats. We have both been owned by cats in adulthood. Somehow, though, my brother managed to entirely fail to notice this quite common cat behavior. The only cats I've known who never quivered their tails were all manx, and thus had no tail to quiver.

11:56AM PST on Mar 2, 2014

I love the sound of kitty's purring,

12:17PM PST on Dec 28, 2013


5:18AM PST on Dec 23, 2013


add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Nobody's asking, but I think that workplace stress does more damage.

My family pretty much gave up soda a few years ago. The kids don't miss it, neither do I. One of t…

Really a miracle that they were able to rescue this puppy. Thanks to all involved!

Sounds delicious. Thank you.

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.