do cats glow in the dark

Regular cats do not glow.

A new study has shown that like many other animals, domestic cats exhibit fluorescent properties.

The ultimate goal of this line of research, though, is to figure out how to make humans resistant to HIV, the virus that causes human AIDS. “We want to see if we can protect the domestic cat against its AIDS virus, if we can protect any species, eventually including ours, against its own AIDS virus,” Poeschla told LiveScience.

The substance that makes the cat glow is a version of the green fluorescent protein that lights up the crystal jelly, a type of jellyfish that lives off the West Coast of the United States. Years ago scientists realized that the gene for GFP is a perfect marker when they insert another new gene into an organism. By inserting a version of GFP along with their gene of choice, they could easily see if they were successful because the organism would glow. Since the technique was first developed, researchers have made many glowing animals, including pigs, mice, dogs, even fish you can buy in the pet store.

In this latest bit of research, published in Nature Methods, the Mayo Clinic scientists inserted a version of the GFP gene along with a gene from the rhesus macaque that blocks the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)—the virus that causes feline AIDS—into the unfertilized eggs of a cat. After those eggs were fertilized, they produced kitties that glowed green, showing that they also had the anti-FIV gene. Even better, subsequent generations of cats also glowed and had the anti-FIV gene.

The researchers still have more work to do to determine whether the anti-FIV gene works in the cats. “We haven’t shown cats that are AIDS-proof,” study co-author Eric Poeschla told LiveScience. “We still have to do infection studies involving whole cats. That the protection gene is expressed in the cat lymphoid organs, where AIDS virus spread and cell death mostly play out, is encouraging to us, however.”

The surreal sight of one’s white shirt, whitened teeth, or neon tiki drink appearing to glow in the darkness of the dance floor is a common experience for nightclub patrons. This is an example of fluorescence under black [UV-A] lights.

“If fluorescence serves any particular biological purpose for mammals, it is still unknown.” The authors of the study stated that although it seems to be a common characteristic of unpigmented fur and skin, it might also serve to make these regions appear brighter and improve visual signaling, particularly for nocturnal species.

The scientists wrote, “We report fluorescence for 125 mammal species, representing almost all clades in the mammalian phylogeny and from half of all mammalian families.”

Fluorescence comes in many different forms, but they all involve the absorption of light and low-level emission, which frequently produces a glow.

Tests were conducted on preserved and frozen mammal specimens by lead author Kenny Travouillon, a paleontologist and acting curator of ornithology at the Western Australian Museum. Subsequently, the results were forwarded to Curtin University located in Perth for examination under various UV lamps.


What do cats see when they look at humans?

The strange part of all of this is that cats actually view people as fellow cats. Some researchers believe cats look at us as big, slow, clumsy, uncoordinated cats, but others say they’re not quite so judgemental. The good thing is, whether or not they’re judging our balance and agility, they still love us!

Can cats see in total darkness?

The natural hunting instinct in cats allows them to see in very low light for all night adventures but in the case of absolute darkness, cats cannot see. Cats are crepuscular animals, meaning they’re active during the twilight hours like dusk and dawn.

What causes cats eyes to glow at night?

The tapetum lucidum (Latin for “shining layer”) is essentially a tiny mirror in the back of many types of nocturnal animals’ eyeballs. It basically helps these animals see super-well at night. It is also what causes the glowing eye phenomenon known as “eyeshine.”

What mammals glow in the dark?

Areas of pale and white fur on the platypus, koala, bilby and Tasmanian devil glowed, as did the white quills and pouch skin of the short-beaked echidna and parts of the southern hairy-nosed wombat’s pale fur. Even white cat hair lit up under UV rays.