Cats have excellent night vision and can see at only one-sixth of the light level required for human vision.This is partly the result of cat eyes having a tapetum lucidum, which reflects any light that passes through the retina back into the eye, thereby increasing the eye’s sensitivity to dim light. Large pupils are an adaptation to dim light. The domestic cat has slit pupils, which allow it to focus bright light without chromatic aberration. At low light, a cat’s pupils expand to cover most of the exposed surface of its eyes. However, the domestic cat has rather a poor color vision and only two types of cone cells, optimized for sensitivity to blue and yellowish green; its ability to distinguish between red and green is limited. A response to middle wavelengths from a system other than the rod cells might be due to the third type of cone. However, this appears to be an adaptation to low light levels rather than representing true trichromatic vision.
The cat’s hearing is most acute in the range of 500 Hz to 32 kHz. It can detect an extremely broad range of frequencies ranging from 55 Hz to 79,000 Hz. It can hear a range of 10.5 octaves, while humans and dogs can hear ranges of about 9 octaves. Its hearing sensitivity is enhanced by its large movable outer ears, the pinnae, which amplify sounds and help detect the location of a noise. It can detect ultrasound, which enables it to detect ultrasonic calls made by rodent prey.