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Do Cats Need Night Lights? (See in the dark?)

If you have a new cat you be wondering how to deal with them at night (click here for my 3 best night lights for cats. In particular, if night lights are required or add any benefit.

Do cats need night lights? No, cats do not need night lights. However, it can be helpful for us and the cats in certain situations. Such as elderly or young kittens with known vulnerabilities (more on this later).

Now that you know that cats don’t need night lights, but understand that it can help. Let me now explain the befits of cats having a night light, confirm if cats really can see in complete darkness if they are really nocturnal, and much more…

What are the benefits of cats having a night light?

Do cats need night lights?

A cat in a tree looking at a night light.

Earlier I briefly explained that cats don’t need a night light. However, there are certain scenarios that a night light that will benefit them…

  • An old-aged cat that gets distressed easily.
  • A new kitten that is a bit nervous
  • Avoiding tripping over your cat in dim/dark light.

An old aged cat that gets distressed easily

If you have an older cat, then you will know that sometimes they can get anxious or distressed easily. To avoid this happening, you can simply use a night light to give them peace of mind. This isn’t the solution to all of her problems, but it will help, are you with me?

A new kitten that is a bit nervous.

If you have a new kitten, that may be a bit nervous in its new surroundings. a night light may be able to help. This simple light might help her to feel a bit more secure at night and give you a better night’s sleep.

Avoiding tripping over your cat

Aside from your cat’s benefit, you may even benefit from a night light. Why? Well, you can avoid simple things like tripping over your cat during the night or any other object for that matter.

Can cats see in complete darkness?

You may have heard rumors that cats can see in complete darkness. And for that reason, it may seem obvious that they will never need a night light, right? But, can they really see in complete darkness?

According to this site, cats have superior night vision than us humans. But to quantify this, they say cats have the ability to capture up to fifty percent more light than us.

This is all well and good, but it does not mean that they can actually see in pitch-black darkness, are you with me?

Why can cats see so well in the dim light?

Now that you understand that cats have the ability to see better in the muted light. It may make you wonder, why can they see so well?

This comes down to genetics. Cats are physically built better in this area, to deal with low/dim light. in particular the following:

  • Large eyes (Disproportionate to their head size)
  • Flexible Irises
  • High Rod count (in comparison to us humans)

Large eyes (Disproportionate to their head size)

Firstly, they have large eyes. Have you ever really looked at a cat’s eyes closely? In particular, looking at the size of their eyes in comparison to the size of their head? Well, take it from me, they are disproportionate and big, which is a bonus for dim light.

Flexible Irises

Your cat is also gifted with great Irises. I call them flexible Irises because they open very wide, especially in comparison to us humans.

This helps a lot with dim light because they can take in as much light as possible, even when there is much light available.

High Rod Count

Their retinas, which make up the back of their eyes (same as ours), according to this site, have two major cell types for light sensitivity. These cells are known as:

  • Rods
  • Cones

The rods, in particular, are what we are interested in here. Why? Because they reflect light. This is a big factor in their night vision. We all have rods by the way, humans, and cats.

But, the big difference is the number of rods. Cats have roughly four times the amount that we have, which makes a big difference for vision in dim light.

Are cats really nocturnal?

Maybe you have the rumors that cats are nocturnal. If not, take it from me, many people believe that this is the case. But, is this correct?

The reality is they are not nocturnal, strictly speaking. In fact, they are crepuscular. But what does this really mean? It means that they are generally more active at dusk and dawn.

But, why are cats active at this time?

In the last section, I explained that cats are crepuscular, meaning they are active at dusk & dawn. But you may be wondering why this might be? Is there any reason why they are more active at these times?

Yes, there is a reason. It revolves around the activity of their prey. In particular mice and rats. They are also active around this time. Meaning, logically, they have adjusted to increase their chances of a successful hunt.

You may be thinking, well domestic cats do not need to hunt, right? Well, that’s correct, they don’t. But, it is ingrained in their instincts to be up at this time.

It could be advantageous to have food available for them during these times to increase the chances of them not roaming around looking for food.

Do Cats Get Lonely at night time?

You may be wondering if these cats can see well in low light, do they ever get lonely and yearn for human attention in the night? Yes, they do, but why does this happen?

This is because cats are naturally social animals, they thrive off attention and contact with their owners. If they are not feeling tired at night, they will get lonely. And, the likelihood is, they will start bugging you when you are trying to get some sleep.

The best way around this is to keep them super active in the daylight hours, so they feel tired in the night. This will keep them off your back during the night hours (Can they be left in the dark? Click here), are you with me?

Related Questions:

In this section, I will be answering some related questions on cats, night lights, and other closely related topics. If you have any additional questions feel free to drop a comment below.

Q: Do cats like sleeping with humans?

Yes. Cats do like sleeping with us humans (Click here to see if cats like to being under blankets?). You may even notice them trying to snuggle up right next to your head to feel your body head and avoid being nudged by your arms and legs during the night.

Q: How do I stop my cat from waking me up at 4 AM?

The best way to stop your cat waking you up at 4 AM is to keep her active in the day. Effectively, you want to wear her out in the day so she is less likely to bug you.

Alternatively, a more direct, and arguably harsher method, is to shut her out of your bedroom. Yes, she will bug you initially. In the form of crying and scratching on the door. But, in time this will stop and you will get your quality sleep back.

In reality, she should have her own cat bed anyway (Click here for my best big cat beds).

Q: Is it ok to leave your cat alone for 3 days?

No, it is not ok to leave your cat alone for 3 days. And it goes without saying, long 3 month trips need another plan (Click here to see how to look after your cat for 3 months or more, while your away). In reality, you should not be leaving them alone for more than 24 hours unattended. And, even then they need a food and water supply to sustain them (Click here to see how to feed cats wet food while you are away).

Do cats like the lights on or off at night?

Cats do like the lights off when they sleep but they also appreciate habit. So, if you turn them off it is best to follow a predictable schedule. For example, off at 10 PM each night when you sleep.

As discussed earlier, a night light is not mandatory. But, it can help in some circumstances such as cats with vulnerabilities, and may even be helpful for you if you travel to the bathroom at night.

Can I leave my cat in the dark?

You can leave your cat in the dark, but it is better to offer some light. For example, if you are away for the night it may be advantageous to have the one room or the hallway with a subtle light on.

This is not only beneficial to your cat. But, it will help to show an intruder that you may be in and make them avoid your home in your absence.

Is it okay to leave a cat alone at night?

Leaving your cat for a night is believed to be fine. But, it is important to make sure that your cat is left with enough food and a clean litter tray. This can avoid it needing your assistance for the period while you are out.

Some cat owners make use of automatic feeders (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad) while they are out to make this easier as well as self-cleaning litter boxes (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad).

Why does my cat cry in the night?

Your cat may cry in the night because they are restless and have the energy to burn. However, occasionally, they may have a genuine health issue that may need your assistance. If it’s the latter, it will need your assistance as soon as possible. So, it worth taking these cries seriously.

These cries are not usually related to needing a night light, so it is usually something else that is causing it.

Why is my cat getting destructive at night?

If you find that your cat is being destructive in the night it could be feeling anxious or restless. One tactic you can use is providing it with some activities such as a simple toy ball (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad), a scratching post (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad), or an interactive toy (Click here to see the price, on Amazon #Ad).

The idea is to let your cat keep itself occupied while you sleep to avoid it damaging your furniture or waking you up.

Lindsey Browlingdon