Leaving Your Cat in the Dark? Here’s Why You Should Stop Doing It

Leaving Your Cat in the Dark? Here’s Why You Should Stop Doing It

Cats are crepuscular animals, meaning they have bursts of activity during the day, but are often most active at twilight. They’re not strictly nocturnal animals, as their bodies are regulated by melatonin influenced by darkness, but their sleep patterns do vary from those of their cat owners. So, if you were wondering why your cat’s doing night zoomies and wants to play in the middle of the night, that’s why.

Speaking of cat sleep patterns, it’s important to have enough light in your home to keep you and your cat safe. Cats’ eyes can naturally adapt to low-light conditions, but leaving a light on can help a cat feel comforted in the middle of the night. It can also prevent accidents from happening in complete darkness.

Do Cats Need Light on at Night?

Leaving a light on for your feline friend serves several purposes. While they do have excellent night vision, the right amount of light can help them navigate your space. It’ll be easier to find the water bowl, go to their cat bed, and play. The right amount of light can even put them at ease so they can sleep. 

They don’t need a bright light. A little bit of ambient light in the hallway and living room can turn good night vision into excellent night vision. It can reduce accidents, injuries, and bad cat behavior. 

Keeping a light on can:

  • Comfort a new kitten who is scared of the dark
  • Make it easier for cat owners to find and help an older cat with medical needs
  • Help a cat’s retinas adapt to a dark space
  • Make a cat feel safe while they’re home alone

Is It OK to Leave Cats in the Dark?

It is generally fine to leave a cat alone and in the dark for short periods of time, but it does vary based on the temperament of the cat and the location of the home. Bright lights aren’t necessary! In fact, ambient light from street lights and porch lights are enough to prevent total darkness; however, rooms that are pitch-black after sunset would benefit from nightlights.

How Often Should I Leave a Light on for My Cat?

Your cat needs light every night, whether you’re home or away. Plug-in nightlights with a dawn-to-dusk sensor can reliably automate the lighting in your home. If you’re away overnight, you can also set up smart bulbs, keep lights on, or set an overnight timer to reduce any anxiety.

How Much Light Does a Cat Need?

Cats don’t need much light! A dim light, such as a nightlight or a dimmable lamp is enough. In many rooms of your home, you might find that the porch light or street light is enough ambient light to prevent total darkness. 

What Are the Benefits of Having Light on at Night?

  • Offers comfort and security, especially during nighttime. Leaving a dim light on can create a sense of comfort and security for your cat, reducing anxiety or fear in a dark environment.
  • Safeguard against accidents. Even with their great eyesight, a softly lit space makes it easier for cats to navigate the home, find their litter box, and reduces the chance of accidents.
  • Reduce anxiety. Cats rely greatly on their night vision, but being in total darkness can lead to anxiety. Even a small night light can provide reassurance.
  • Makes it easier for pet owners. Cats with medical conditions or those overcoming illness might need nighttime help. If you leave a light on, it’s easier for everyone to navigate in the middle of the night.
  • Deter nocturnal activities. If your cat’s late-night antics disturb your sleep, a gentle light may help them settle down.

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Whether you're planning a trip or need a last-minute solution if you’re working late, we're here to help. Meowtel cat sitters tailor their services to meet your cat's unique requirements. Let us care for your beloved furball, and experience true peace of mind.

Categories: Cat Ownership