Why do cats love the dark? Cats are mysterious creatures. With their glow-in-the-dark eyes and the superstitions around them, we tend to associate them with general spookiness and night stalking. So, why do cats love the dark? Is this the same for all cats?

Cats are comfortable at dusk and dawn because they are more active then, but not because they love the dark. Cats can’t see in complete darkness. They need at least a bit of light to be able to see. But, some cats love the dark when they are scared, want to hide, or need security.

Despite what you might have heard, not all cats like the dark, and just about all of them hate complete darkness. In this article, we’ll explore how your cat can see in the dark and give you a little bit of an idea of what that is like for your cat.

We’ll also talk about whether or not it’s cruel to leave them in a dark room and if these seemingly-supernatural felines get lonely at night when we sleep. Finally, let’s talk about nocturnal kitty-cats and get the real scoop on what goes on in the dark!



If you’ve ever tossed a rubber ball into a dark hallway, only to have your kitty bring it back to you so that you’ll throw it again, then you’ve probably got a sneaking suspicion that your cat sees pretty well in the dark. It is definitely true, and it all boils down to the rods in your kitty’s eyes.

Cats have extra rods in their retinas, and these help them take advantage when there is dim light, such as moonlight or a little light coming in from the window from a street lamp nearby.  Cats also have a tapetum, a structure located behind the retina and thought to help mirror dim light to the rods and cones in the cat’s eyes.

When your cat does that neat’ glow in the dark’ eyeshine trick, then you are seeing the tapetum at work. Now, while a cat definitely has superior night vision, that doesn’t mean that they can see things when it is pitch-black.

Cats do see well in the dark, but they only require 1/6 of the light that humans do, so if there is no light, then your cat can’t see anything either!


Some cats enjoy sleeping or staying in some dark places if they want to feel secure or hide from others. Dark spots are good because it is possible to become invisible and are usually quiet.

Scared or shy cats can tend to go into a cupboard, under a blanket, or under a bed. Those are usually dark places, and cats assume no one sees them. It is also possible to find cats very active at night or moving fast in the house even with very little light.

Those cats are instinctively set to hunt or play when dark, not necessarily because they love the darkness. Let’s remember that cats need a little light to be able to operate. It cannot be complete darkness.


Now that you know that cats can bump into walls in the dark just like we can, is it cruel to leave a cat in the dark when you go to sleep at night? For the most part, your cat should be fine, as there will be some spots around the house with a bit of light that the cat can make use of.

If your house does get particularly dark at night, however, then you might consider nightlights. Cats can indeed get stressed if it’s TOO dark, and stressed cats might hurt themselves or knock things over at night in a panic when they miss a jump or bump into something due to inadequate lighting.

LED nightlights use an extremely minimal amount of electricity, so you can get a few of them at the store to place around the house if your cat likes to play around the house at night. This will make your cat feel a little more safe and secure, and if your kitty has been known to knock things over at night, then this might actually put a stop to this behavior.

Unless your cat is mad at you, of course, we all know how temperamental our furry friends can be!


If your cat sleeps during the day and then spends a good portion of the night waking you up from time to time, then they might well be a little lonely or bored. More often than not, it’s the latter, and your bored kitty wants you to wake up to play with them and to spend a little time with them.

A good compromise is to get a ‘cat tower’ and put it close to the bed so that your cat can play but still remain close to you. Some of these little kitty-houses come with built-in toys; just be sure that you select one that doesn’t have the noisy kind, and then your cat can play while feeling safe and sound with you snoring happily nearby.

Today we’ve answered the question of why cats love the dark, and now you know that cats don’t love the dark. They’re just much more prepared to navigate around it comfortably. In total darkness, your cat can be just as blind as you or I might be, so if your cat is knocking over things at night, try not to be too mad.

Just put a few nightlights around the house and if your cat is waking you at night for the play, try placing a play tower near the bed so that they can play and be close without having to wake you up.


Is darkness bad for cats?

Darkness is bad for cats if there isn’t even a little bit of light. Cats can see and move well in the dark, but they can suffer complete darkness. So if the house gets too dark, it is always better to have LED lights or a small lamp turned on.

Do cats like dark or light rooms?

Each cat is different. While some cats may like the dark in most cases, others want to stay in the light. Some cats do not mind if it is dark or if there is light. It is essential to learn what our cats like and what is their personality. It can be easily seen by how they behave.

Are cats afraid of dark rooms?

Cats are not afraid of the dark rooms, but they can feel very unsure about a room that is completely dark and doesn’t present even a faint light. Cats cannot see in total darkness and may not enter a room with any light.

Do cats like to sleep in dark places?

When it comes to sleeping cats love to sleep in dark places. When they sleep they want to feel secure and they want to know that no one is going to find them or attack them. Dark places are perfect for this purpose.

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