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Braidee Foote, a clinical assistant professor in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s College of Veterinary Medicine, recently answered the question of why cat’s eyes glow for The Conversation’s Curious Kids.

Braidee Foote

Cats and many other animals, including most dogs, can reflect light from their eyes. That’s why cats’ eyes will usually shine brightly in photos taken in a dimly lit room or glow when illuminated in the dark by a flashlight or a car’s headlights.

Species whose eyes glow have evolved to see better in low light because they either forage or need to look out for predators throughout the night, or they do most of their hunting at dawn and dusk. In fact, domesticated cats can see in conditions that are only 16 percent as bright as what people require. Read the full article on The Conversation. The article was translated into Bahasa Indonesia.

UT is a member of The Conversation, an independent source for news articles and informed analysis written by the academic community and edited by journalists for the general public. Through our partnership, we seek to provide a better understanding of the important work of our faculty.


Lindsey Owen (865-974-6375,