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Cat Behavior

Does my Cat Need a Light at Night?

Is Leaving a Light on for the Cat Okay?

Even though most cat owners are aware of their pet’s visual acuity in the dark, whether to keep a light on or not is a reasonable question. 

Will your furry friend benefit from having at least a modest amount of light? Even though they have much better night vision than humans, there is some benefit to providing some light. 

If nothing else, you’ll be able to avoid tripping over anything or possibly even tripping over your kitty.

Can Cats See in Complete Darkness?

According to blogger Candace Elise Hoes, cats’ eyes capture and use 50 percent more of available light than humans.

However, this doesn’t mean being able to see in complete darkness.

When you think about it, even outdoor locations with minimal lighting, the moon and stars provide natural lighting.

One popular mistaken belief that many people have about cats is that they are a nocturnal species. 

Our feline friends are crepuscular, meaning that they are more active at dawn and dusk.

According to The Daily Cat writer Kim Boatman, cats’ activity patterns are unlikely to match ours.

However, even though cats and humans have such different patterns, each can comfortably live with the others’ schedule. 

Why Do Cats Keep Such Bizarre Hours?

According to veterinarian Jason Nicholas, dawn and dusk are the times that rats and mice, cats’ favorite prey, are most active. This fact explains the time’s cats most want food.

Cat owners often wake their owners at early hours and then demand food upon the owners’ arrival at home after work.

Although their food requests can be cute, there can be a fine line between cuteness and encouraging sleep-disrupting behavior.

In many ways, it’s somewhat easier for an owner to adjust to a cat’s schedule than for a cat to adhere to a strictly daytime schedule. 

Keeping a few things about cats’ habits that they have inherited from their wild ancestors in mind is helpful. 

Even though hunting mice and rats is an activity that house cats seldom enjoy, they still retain these hunting instincts.

Keeping a feeding schedule where your pet has access to food during these times may minimize roaming around the house.

Giving your cat a final playing session before a night feeding session will help your cat stay asleep longer. A tired, well-fed cat is a happy cat. 

Using foods that contain turkey can help your cat sleep better. There is veterinary evidence proving that this is more than a myth.

According to Dr. Rebecca Ledger, turkey contains tryptophan. One benefit of this amino acid is that it has a calming effect that may encourage better sleep. 

Avoid getting up or even moving too much when your cat gets active early in the morning. Using a timed feeder may discourage your cat from these early morning awakenings.

During the daytime, keeping toys available for your cat to play with will keep him or her occupied and more restful at night.

Keeping your home well-lit, even by keeping curtains or drapes open at a window, will help give your cat better stimulation. 

Does Night Affect Cats in Unusual Ways?

The night might have a negative effect on your cat that might not have occurred to you.

As a social species, cats become accustomed to activity that they associate with their owner’s presence. A dark, quiet home may make the cat think they are alone.

Loneliness is bad for a cat’s emotional health. One way to help alleviate this feeling is to make sure your pet can access your bedroom, provided he or she doesn’t disrupt your sleep. 

What If You Work at Night?

A quandary for many cat parents who work long hours is how to best meet their cat’s needs when they’re at work at night. How should you best deal with lighting and activity issues?

Petfinder writer Barbara Pezzanite suggests that the key to your cat’s adjustment is keeping him or her occupied while you’re at work.

Your pet might be somewhat inclined to nap while you are out of the house, especially if they spend a lot of time with you while you are at home.

In this case, offering enough lighting to prevent falls when you return home and help your cat is necessary.

Because of their abilities to see in semi-darkness, motion-activated lights or nightlights can help most cats get around the house. 

Your pet will be able to distinguish between items in your home, making their activities while you are out of the house safer all around. 

Keeping even a modest amount of light on will help keep your cat’s activity level up, possibly allowing him or her to rest more easily during the night.

Both of you will be a lot more content with a schedule that causes less sleep disruption. 

What Are Safety Considerations for Cat Lights?

What you use for lights for your cats should have safety as a major concern. A cat’s activity level makes them likely to bump into or knock over certain things, including lamps.

Tall floor lamps or lamps with halogen bulbs can present a particular hazard.

You want to avoid lighting options that can easily break, or tip over onto your pet. It is always better to avoid lamps constructed in a way that encourages the cat to jump on top of them. 

Using something for lighting that is not as likely to tip over will keep your furry friend safer. Another consideration is making sure any electrical cords have to chew or clawing protection.

There are options for lighting at night that meet you and your pet’s needs. A lamp that uses a timer is one possible solution.

Night lights that use LED bulbs and turn on at dusk help conserve energy while the human members of your family are asleep.

What Benefits Does Light Offer Owners?

An obvious benefit to cat owners that comes with proper lighting is avoiding tripping hazards. Most cats tend to leave toys in areas that are high-traffic. Even a night light may be able to help you avoid tripping over or slipping on toys.

Consider offering the cat toys you can see in the dark. You and your cat will both be happy if you can adjust to each others’ schedules.

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