Do cats need lights to use the litter box? Maybe you have wondered if your cat would be able to use the litter box at night despite the lack of light. Cats are known to see well in the dark, but can they see things when it is completely dark?
Cats do not need lights on to see the litter box or use it, providing there is at least a bit of natural light from a window (even a tiny little light like from stars or the moon at night) or other sources.
While it is true that cats can see in the dark much better than us, they can’t see in the absolute dark. Here is how cats can see the litter box at night.
DO CATS NEED LIGHTS TO USE THE LITTER BOX?
I have always been worried that my cat could not see much in the dark and that when I wasn’t home after dawn, the house was completely dark, and he would have trouble seeing. Therefore, I always left a light turned on for him, so he wasn’t entirely in the dark.
And I was right to do so. Although it is common to believe that cats can see in the dark, they still need a little light to walk around safely. Cats can see when in the dark, but if you notice, when they hunt at sunrise or sunset, there is still some residual light in the sky or indirect sunlight.
I must have consumed a lot of electricity before I switched to smaller lamps or small corridor lights to consume much less but at least provide a bit of light for my little kitty. Maybe cats would not need the primary lights open like I did initially, but at least an emergency light.
CAN CATS FIND THE LITTER BOX IN THE DARK?
The actual data is that cats can see in the dark, providing there is even a tiny bit of ray of light. However, they only need one-sixth of the amount of light humans require to be able to see and can see in twilight or low light.
False data: Cats can see in the dark. By dark, we mean the absence of any light at all.
Utilize a nightlight to illuminate the litter box area during dark so your cat doesn’t have to guess where the toilet is. You can use LED lights, nightlights to plug in the wall or even kids’ lights. They do not consume a lot of electricity but can make enough light for your cat to see.
Some nightlights have even sensors. When they detect motion, the light turns on. It is perfect for cats, so you do not need to turn the lights on all night or when you are not on.
Here are some examples of nightlights you can use:
SHOULD YOU LEAVE THE LIGHTS ON FOR A CAT?
Yes, if your house gets completely dark, you should leave the lights on. For example, I would leave the bathroom side light switched on at night because the litter box was in there, and there was no window.
Therefore the room was completely dark at night. At least with the light on, he could go to the bathroom at night if he needed. If you know a bit about cats, they are very active at night, hunting and touring outside if they are outdoor cats.
My cats used to sleep all day, and they ran around playing at night. Cats are famous for their cat senses and the ability to hunt in the dark.
Cat senses are adaptations that allow cats to be highly efficient predators. Cats are good at detecting movement in low light, have an acute sense of hearing and smell, and their sense of touch is enhanced by long whiskers that protrude from their heads and bodies. These senses evolved to allow cats to hunt effectively at night.(Ref. Wikipedia)
WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE MY CAT SEE THE LITTER BOX AT NIGHT?
I concluded that a small lamp switched on somewhere in the house, not too bright it is good for them, even though since I have windows all over, they could still see and move around from natural light coming from the windows.
Additionally, lights from TV and other electronic devices can also help get some orientation in the complete dark. In other words, you should leave a bit of light for your cat, or at least know that he can have some lights from outside.
If you live in a place where there is no light at all, even from an outside lamp, and you have curtains that do not let any light come into the house, you must have a night light on.
Here are some things you can do:
- Leave the curtains opened
- Use nightlights with a sensor
- Leave a light turned on if you do not have anything else
- Leaving the TV on can help your cat to get some light when you are not home or at night
Do cats need lights to use the litter box after all? Again, yes, if they are in the complete dark.
THE CATS SIGHT AND WHY THEY CAN SEE SO WELL?
Do cats need lights to use the litter box, or can cats make it to walk around with their incredible sight? What do we know about cats’ sight?
Cats have a tapetum lucidum, a reflective layer behind the retina that sends light that passes through the retina back into the eye. While this improves the ability to see in darkness and enables cats to see roughly one-sixth of the amount of light people need. Cats seem to be nearsighted, which means they cannot see distant objects as well. Cats have a visual field of view of 200° compared with 180° in humans.(Ref. Wikipedia)
Their visual acuity isn’t as good. So, the things humans can sharply resolve at distances of 100-200 feet look blurry to cats, which can see these objects at distances of up to 20 feet.
Cats have many more rod cells (Rod cells are photoreceptor cells in the eye’s retina that can function in lower light better than the other type of visual photoreceptor), which excel in dim light and are responsible for night-vision capability.
Scientists used to think cats were able only to see two colors. But, at the same time, feline photoreceptors are most sensitive to wavelengths in the blue-violet and greenish-yellow ranges. As a result, cats are primarily red-green color blind, with a little green creeping in.
WHY DO CATS SLEEP IN DARK PLACES?
I believe the situation is more geared around secure places than dark spots; it happens to be that safe places for cats are also dark places.
Cats like to chill in places they know are secure and cannot be attacked during their beauty sleep. My cat, for example, wants to hide in the cupboard. Whenever he finds it open, he sneaks inside.
He sleeps like a baby, he likes to go under the bed and sleep there, or he goes inside a lower shelf where he thinks he cannot be seen and sleeps there too. Cats also like to hide in dark places to attack prey, but not necessarily to sleep in it.
Read also: DO CATS LIKE TO BE IGNORED? MYSTERY SOLVED
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Should I leave the TV on for my cat?
If your cat is used to a TV running all day, you may want to keep it open if you leave the house so the cats know that things are as usual. Cats do not need a TV running; it is more the habits and routines. However, at night the TV also provides light for the cats to use when moving around.
Do cats sleep better in light or dark?
Cats sleep, period. I do not think they care too much if it is dark. However, cats might want to sleep in the dark to feel safer. I see my cats sleep on anything, anywhere, in the light, dark, into things, you name it. I never saw an animal so devoted to sleeping.
Does my cat get lonely if I leave him alone at night?
Yes, cats feel lonely at night if they are alone. They can see that you are not there as usual, and they may get anxious about not seeing you return.
Do cats need lights to use the litter box even if they are very familiar with where the litter box is?
The answer is the same. Cats need light to see where the litter box is; odors can guide cats, and knowing the location may help. But still, they can’t see in a completely dark environment.