Should You Leave A Light On For A Cat?

They say that cats can see in the dark. But why do some pet parents say that their felines weren't able to pee in their litter box during the night? Some are even afraid of the darkness. If you're a new cat owner and you're wondering whether you should leave a light on for your cat or not, we've consulted the experts for you, and here's what we found out.

If your place gets completely dark at night, you should at least have a low level of light for your cat. Contrary to popular belief, cats can't see in the dark. But they just need a small amount of light to be able to see, so a night light should do the trick.

Continue reading because we'll explain to you why you need to leave a light on for your cat when the night comes. We'll also let you know if cats sleep at night and what scares them the most aside from the dark.

A cat sleeping on the sofa, Should You Leave A Light On For A Cat?

Do cats need light during the night?

There is a common misconception that cats can see in the dark. Just like us humans, they won't be able to see anything when everything's pitch black. However, cats are more adept than humans at seeing their surroundings, even with just a little amount of light.

The evolutionary adaptations of cats have made this possible. The cat's eye has more rods, making them see better in the dark. Their eyes can also let in more light and they also have an extra reflective layer behind their retina which increases the chances of incoming light hitting the rod cells. This means they only need a small beam of light to be able to see in the dark.

So, what this information tells us is that we should still help our cats see their way during the night. It shouldn't be completely dark as they won't be able to see anything. We can leave a night light with low brightness so that they can also be comfortable in moving around.

Check out these Vont LED night lights on Amazon.

Do cats need light to use the litter box?

Remember, cats can't see anything when it's completely dark just like us. They just need a low level of light to see their way. If your litter box is located in a place that gets really dark at night, you need to put a night light there so that she won't miss the mark. Or else, you'll end up cleaning your pet's poop and pee in the morning.

Do cats sleep at night?

Cats, in general, are nocturnal or crepuscular beings. This means they are more active during nighttime or during dawn and dusk hours. These are the times when they usually hunt their prey and it has been ingrained in their system. This also explains why you often see your cat sleeping during the day.

But for house cats, pet owners can manage their environment and behavior so that their felines can go to bed at the same time as they do. Of course, it can be quite annoying when your cat constantly asks for food at 2 o'clock in the morning or keeps scratching your furniture. We all need our sleep, right? So here's what you can do. You can tire out your cat during the day through plenty of exercises, give her a hefty meal before bedtime, or ignoring her when she demands your attention at night.

Although cats are naturally more active during the night, if you observe excessive or otherwise unusual nighttime activities of your pet, it's better to consult your vet to address the issue. There might be some health conditions that cause them to be extra active at night such as anxiety, dementia, or chronic illness. It's best to rule out any possible health problem so that you can be sure that you have a healthy and happy cat who just really wants to have some fun during the night.

Do cats like to sleep with lights on or off?

Cats are like humans. The pineal gland in their brain secretes melatonin. This is important in regulating their body clocks and circadian rhythms. Melatonin is also responsible for calming the body before going to sleep to make dozing off much easier.

This is why cats have specific waking and sleeping times which are oftentimes influenced by light and darkness. There are changes in their behaviors and physical and mental condition during daytime and nighttime. Combine this with the dark and they're sure to drift off to slumberland.

In general, cats prefer the dark when going to sleep. So, it's lights off for them. However, this can also be a matter of personal preference and conditioning of your furry pal so pet owners need to adjust accordingly should their cats like to sleep with the lights on.

What is a cat afraid of?

For sure you've heard the phrase scaredy-cat. This came about because cats get frightened easily. There are many things that can startle, terrify, and make them all nervous and restless. These are just some of the things that most pet parents have observed that give their felines nightmares:


A cat startled after seeing a stranger

Like humans, cats get scared of people and animals that are unfamiliar to them. Whether you've got new visitors coming over or adding new pets to your family (especially dogs), your cat may feel anxious about encountering them. That's why you should introduce them to your pet cautiously.

Strong Odors

Cats have a strong sense of smell. They say that it is 14 times stronger than ours. There are certain smells that are unpleasant for them such as paint, citrus-scented sprays, gasoline, among others. Avoid using cleaning products with strong chemicals and scents and when you want to have your house repainted, it's best to have your cat stay over at your friend's house until the smell is gone.

Loud Noises

A cat disturbed due to loud music

Cats can be scared of roaring thunder, ear-splitting firecrackers, and appliances that make blaring noises when you use them. They'll usually hide or run away when hearing blasting sounds.

Moving To A New House

Cats love their daily routines and when you move to a new location, the new environment scares them. They feel that something bad is going to happen to them since they're out of their comfort zones.


Yes, you read that correctly. This might be confusing for some but apparently, cats are scared of cucumbers. This can be due to the fact that their size and color resemble predators such as snakes and alligators.

Don't believe us? See for yourself in this Youtube compilation video:


Cats perceive these flying objects as living airborne monsters who are out to attack them. And when they do get to play with the balloons but then their claws cause them to pop suddenly, they'll be frightened by the loud sound.

These are just some of the things that make cats nervous and afraid. But of course, each cat is different and may have different triggers for a scared reaction and behavior. It is up to us pet parents to help them manage their fears. Some felines even require medications, desensitization, and other behavioral conditioning to help alleviate their terror and distress. Remember to always consult with experts before doing these interventions so that you'll be guided accordingly.

Can cats be scared of the dark?

For some cats, the dark can be foreboding of danger because of their past experiences. They might associate darkness with being lost, hurt, chased, or even captured. That's why these cats can get scared of the dark.

You can tell that your pet is scared of the dark when you observe these behaviors:

  • scratching or biting
  • crouching low to the ground or freezing in place
  • scratching or biting
  • pooping or peeing outside of her litter box
  • hiding
  • running away
  • widening of the eyes with pupils shaped like ovals or big circles

These are just some of the telltale signs that your pet is scared. Some felines also exhibit other behaviors aside from those mentioned above. So it's up to us pet parents to observe our cats closely so that we can tell when our pets are nervous and what's causing their distress.

Final Thoughts

Your cat is a sensitive creature with its own set of quirks and idiosyncrasies. While many people believe that they can see in the dark, this isn't necessarily true. They would need the help of a low level of light to be able to see where they're going. So to avoid any accidents, it's best to leave a night light where your cat is staying to help her see her way and help ease her fears.

Some elements on this page may have been created by our team using advanced AI to provide you with top-notch cat inspired ideas. Read more about our AI Content Policy.

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