Kritter Kondos Outdoor Cat Enclosures, Catios, and Pet Furniture

Do Cats Need Light At Night? [2024]


Do Cats Need Light At Night? [2024]




This post was updated on December 30th, 2023

Cats and night light, a curious mix indeed. Let’s talk about Finnegan, my night-loving cat. He’s a curious one, like most cats, and when darkness falls, he truly comes to life. Like most cats, he possess this amazing trait—night vision—that’s like having built-in night lights in their eyes. So, does a cat need lighting?

Come with me as I unpack all the details.

When it comes to the question of whether cats need light at night, it’s a bit nuanced.

For Finnegan and many other cat breeds, the darkness doesn’t bother them much. Their dilated pupils and unique eyes allow them to navigate through dimly lit spaces with ease.

But here’s the twist: they might not need light, but they do appreciate it.

In Finnegan’s case, leaving a dim light on at night isn’t just about illuminating his path; it’s about keeping his domain cat-safe. Cats, especially when adjusting to a new home or when there’s a new kitten around, might prefer a bit of ambient light. It helps them feel secure and eases any potential nighttime jitters.

Imagine you’re a cat exploring a litter box in complete darkness versus in a soft, gentle glow. The latter feels cozier, right? It just seems good manners for me to give the fur ball some light.

Moreover, cats, as creatures of habit, thrive on routine. A consistent nighttime environment with a touch of light can soothe their cat behavior, making it easier for them to find their food, litter box, or preferred spots for cat naps.

And let’s not forget about cat health. Older cats, like us, can get disoriented in total darkness, leading to accidents or stress. A faint night light can prevent such mishaps and keep our furry friends content and relaxed during the night.

Do Cats Need Light at Night?

Cats, like humans, have a natural circadian rhythm that governs their sleep and wake cycles. While cats are generally crepuscular, meaning they are feistiest when the sunrises, they also tend to sleep for extended periods during the day and night.

So, while cats might not necessarily need light, they sure appreciate the gesture. It’s all about creating a cat-friendly home that suits their preferences. Finnegan’s preference for a bit of light at night has taught me that sometimes, the smallest adjustment can make a world of difference for our beloved feline companions.

While cats can see in low light conditions, they still require some light at night to navigate their surroundings and avoid injury.

RELATED: Unique Cat Names Ending in Y

However, it should be considered that this is how cats have evolved; to be active at night and function in low-light conditions better than humans.

Triple T Studios

There are a few reasons why a cat may need light at night. For example, if they are elderly or have a medical condition that affects their vision, they may require more light to see clearly. Additionally, providing some light can help them feel more comfortable and secure in an unfamiliar environment.

However, it is also important to consider that cats are sensitive to light and can be disturbed by too much exposure, especially at night.

Too much light can disrupt their natural sleep cycle and cause them to be more active at night when they should be resting.

While cats require some light at night, it is important to consider their natural circadian rhythms and provide only enough light to ensure their safety and comfort. Too much light can be disruptive to their sleep and overall health.

Cats have been a part of humanity for centuries. While our feline companions have become a mainstay in our homes for many decades, the answer to whether a cat can see in the dark can get complicated. In short, they can, but not as well as you’d like to think.

Some Feline Science and How Cats’ Eyes Work

Your cat’s eyes work similar to yours. The pupil gets smaller in bright light and dilates in darker surroundings. A cat’s vertical pupils can dilate up to 300 times more in low light than yours, which is only a measly 15 times. This also happens when they are playful or stimulated. On the downside, their vision does appear a little blurrier with this dilation.

As light enters a cat’s eyes, it goes back to the retina. This layer is a light-sensitive lining at the back of your cat’s eye. Unlike your human eye, a cat has what is called a tapetum. This is a particular reflective layer that acts as a mirror.

The tapetum will reflect light onto another spot of the retina. If you ever shone a light at your cat and their eyes like they’re glowing, it is because the tapetum is reflecting some of this light. This may also be why many thought cats were associated with witchcraft. Because of this reflected light, a small amount of it will be magnified. Any light available to your cat at night will be enlarged inside their eyes. This allows your cat to see things.

This doesn’t necessarily mean they can see in total darkness. All it means is that they can use up to 50 percent more of any available light source than humans can. This makes them better navigating extremely dark places better than their human counterparts. Also, as a note, their vision is 200 degrees wider than yours.

Triple T STudios

The Shape of a Cat’s Eye and Vision

The fashionable nature of a cat’s pupil is far from being just an aesthetic choice by Mother Nature. This beautiful design has immense light control in bright daylight and near-darkness. It’s this style of pupil that is found on many predators that hunt throughout the day and ambush their prey. These pupils also help a cat estimate distance and help process the best image, which is called ‘steropsis.’ This is especially helpful if a cat is on the prowl at night or hiding in the shadows during the day. As they pounce on their prey, their eyes allow them to be more precise in their actions.

Whiskers and the Power of Feeling

How a cat navigates, the dark is more than just eyesight. As if our feline companions weren’t supernatural enough, their whiskers also help guide a cat in the dark. Since these whiskers are connected to nerves that are sensitive to even the slightest movement, a cat can move more freely at night. They can also detect a slight breeze. If you’ve ever noticed a cat walking forward, have their whiskers pointing out and forward. This allows the whiskers to brush against an object. This will alert the cat that something there. This helps a cat walk through a room at night while avoided a floor littered with toys or to keep them from running into the furniture.


Yes, cats have excellent night vision and can see in low light conditions much better than humans. Their eyes are designed with a high number of rod cells, which are sensitive to low levels of light, allowing them to navigate and hunt in dimly lit environments. While they cannot see in total darkness, their superior night vision is a result of their eye structure and allows them to perceive movement and objects in low light situations.

Why Is Kritter Kommunity Your Trusted Pet Partner? 

Lisa Illman is the Founder of Kritter Kommunity, LLC. Not only does she have one tuxedo male adult currently, she has had him since he was a small tuxedo cat, baby kitten; so she knows well the tuxedo kitten life cycle, the tuxedo teenage cat life cycle and the adult tuxedo cat life cycle (he is currently 11 years old). Prior to her cat Finnegan, Lisa had two FIV positive cats for over a decade. One of the FIV positive cats was a tuxedo male cat. Lisa’s love for animals her entire life (she also had a poodle and parakeet growing up plus was a caretaker for her roommate’s 3 pets during college) and networking with the pet community for over a decade, enable her to find top content for her readers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *