What Happens if Cats Are Left in a Dark House? - Top Cat Breeds (2023)


  • Is It Safe to Leave Cats in the Dark?
  • Can Cats Stay in a Dark Room at Night?
  • What Happens if Cats Are Left in a Dark House?
  • Can Cats See in a Dark House?
  • Do Cats Like a Dark House?
  • How Do Cats React When Kept in a Dark Room or House?
  • Conclusion

What happens if cats are left in a dark house? Many pet parents have questions about taking care of their cats at night. Should they be left with a light on? Should I leave a light on when I’m away?

When cats are in a dark room or house, they react negatively. They will often growl and become restless, and they might also start to make loud noises. Usually, they will attempt to hide or escape from the situation.

What Happens if Cats Are Left in a Dark House? - Top Cat Breeds (1)

Is It Safe to Leave Cats in the Dark?

It’s usually a good idea to switch off the lights when you leave the house, but departing from your furry friend in the dark can be very stressful for them.

Contrary to popular belief, cats can’t see in total darkness. They can only see through their eyes when there is a light source in the room.

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Kittens are also crepuscular, which indicates they are active during the day and at dusk. Even though a cat’s eyes can capture and use about 50 percent more light than humans, they can’t see unless there is a source of light in the room.

Your cat might get lonely when you’re home during the day. It gets used to the noises and activities that come with being in the house. If you leave, everything in the place stops working, and your cat begins to feel abandoned.

Can Cats Stay in a Dark Room at Night?

Your furry friend can stay in a dark room at night. The next question is, “Do cats like sleeping in the dark?”

Cats love to sleep. They disburse most of their time hunting for food in the wild, and they often spend the night sleeping to conserve energy. On the other hand, House cats may not have to hunt for food, but they still urge to use their power wisely.

Your cat can fall asleep in almost any environment, and it’s always safe to do so, as long as the noises are loud enough. It is why many pet parents try to catch their cats napping outside.

It’s no secret that your cat will most likely find their sleeping spot under the blankets, under the table, or on the shelves. However, what’s most common is that this pet knows that there’s no danger involved.

Besides being close to you, your cat’s choice of a sleeping area can also be because of its environment. Although light or darkness doesn’t have to do with it, adequate warmth can also play a role.

What Happens if Cats Are Left in a Dark House?

Depending on the cat, they will either stay in one corner and sleep or claw their way out of it. They need light to see correctly, and leaving them in pitch darkness can lead to injuries. Although they can see better in low-light conditions, cats still need light to function correctly.

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Even if there’s not enough light to provide a good light source, cats can still move around much better than humans due to their eyes. Cats have unique features that allow them to see night.

Cats have large and curved lenses that dilate their pupils to allow more light to enter their eyes.

In cats, the photoreceptors include more rods, making them incredibly good at perceiving motion and light at night. On the other hand, with fewer cones, humans are more capable of perceiving bright light.

Read also: Do Cats Need Light at Night? [Find Out More]

Can Cats See in a Dark House?

Contrary to popular belief, cats cannot see in the dark house. They need a small amount of light to do so.

Cats can perceive light in the dark, which is very different from humans. In rare cases, you will block out all light completely, but their vision is still very advanced.

The reason cats are so good at perceiving light in the dark is their sophisticated eyes. They have a curved cornea and a large lens that allow them to dilate their pupils to allow for more light.

In cats’ eyes, the photoreceptors are entirely different from those of humans. The rods in the cat’s eyes are responsible for multiple functions, such as peripheral vision and night vision, while the cones in humans are for daylight and colors.

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Also, since their eyes have many rods, cats can perceive light in dim light. However, they do not see as well as humans when exposed to bright light.

A layer of tissue known as the tapetum in cats’ eyes is responsible for reflecting light to the retina. This tissue allows the retina to receive over 50% of the available light. It’s also why cats’ eyes glow when you take pictures of them with headlights on.

Read also: Do Cats Need Light to Use Litter Box?

Do Cats Like a Dark House?

It depends on the cat, but generally, cats do not like dark houses. Contrary to popular belief, cats can still see well in the dark.

They can still collect and reflect even the smallest amount of light, which means they can still see in a room even if it’s not pitch black. Cats also have a perfect sense of timing and can spot prey and predators when the lights go out.

Although your cat can see well at night, it’s still not always the same for him when it comes to seeing in the day. A cat’s eyes contract and expand to allow for as much light as they need, and in bright rooms, their pupils become narrow, while in dark rooms, their pupils are round and appear as saucers. It can influence whether your cat prefers a bright or dark room.

Domestic cats are known to be incredibly nocturnal creatures. Most of their waking hours are for hunting in the dark, so they’re often referred to as nocturnal animals.

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Also, since they live in relatively light environments, their instinct would probably take over if they decided to go outside.

How Do Cats React When Kept in a Dark Room or House?

Felines will act negatively. The territorial animal, the cat, is mainly concerned with its territory’s organization and marks. Believing that this is an essential part of its body, taking away one of its territories can cause anxiety in the animal, leading to behavioral problems.

Cats are locked when it is left outside all day and can’t access their territory independently. It is the same situation with other animals.

When you lock a cat inside a room at night and lock it outside during the day, it increases the animal’s risk of developing behavioral problems.


What happens if cats are left in a dark house? They will react based on how you raised them as their fur parents. Contrary to popular belief, cats can’t see in total darkness. However, leaving them in the dark while working is still possible.

So, while it’s possible to leave your cat alone, it’s essential to make sure that she has minimal natural light. Some sources of natural light that can be helpful to your feline friend include the moon, stars, and street lights.

What Happens if Cats Are Left in a Dark House? - Top Cat Breeds (2)

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Hayley is a passionate writer and dedicated pet lover. With a wealth of experience and knowledge in caring for cats, she has become an authority in the field. Her love for feline companions led her to adopt and care for nine wonderful cats, who bring joy and inspiration to her life every day.Hayley's expertise shines through in her informative and engaging articles. She is committed to providing valuable insights and guidance to cat owners, ensuring they have the knowledge necessary to provide the best care for their beloved pets. Her writing style is clear, concise, and accessible, making complex topics easy to understand for readers of all backgrounds.


What happens if you leave a cat in the dark? ›

Cats can see with just a tiny bit of light. Their irises open to the entire size of the pupil making small amounts of light seem like more. Cats are nocturnal so they roam around or sleep lightly at night. So yes, it's ok to leave them in the dark.

Do cats care if they are in the dark? ›

It doesn't matter. Cats can sleep in light and in near-darkness, and they can see in light and near-darkness. Whether you leave the light on or turn it off, is the same to your cat.

Can you leave a cat alone for 12 days? ›

How long can cats safely be left alone? Most adult cats are fine being left home alone for up to 24 hours, under the right conditions (more on that below). If you need to leave for two or three days, a full week, or longer, you should make sure someone is coming over to care for your cat daily.

Is it OK to leave your cat out all night? ›

Cats Protection recommends that you keep your cats in at night. Cats are natural hunters, making them more active at night time, and some studies show that more road traffic injuries happen at night.

Do cats like being outside in the dark? ›

Cats love to roam, especially at night. This is because they are creatures whose instinct is to hunt when it is dark outside, especially at dawn and dusk.

Are cats OK in a dark room at night? ›

Generally, cats like to sleep anywhere and at almost any time, regardless of whether it's dark or light. As long as they feel safe, a cat can fall asleep in almost any conditions. This means that they will fall asleep in a well-lit room, a dimly-lit room, or a room in near darkness.

Do cats get scared alone in the dark? ›

Are Cats Afraid Of The Dark? Sometimes cats will be afraid of the dark, and there are several possible reasons why cats develop this fear. The first reason is that some cats may feel disoriented in the dark. This is especially common for young kittens and elderly cats.

How do cats see humans in the dark? ›

They can see very well in low light, however — a skill that gave domestic cats' ancestors an advantage over their prey. As American Veterinarian explains, cats' large corneas and pupils, which are about 50% larger than humans', allow more light into their eyes. This extra light helps them to see in the dark.

Can cats live in total darkness? ›

You now know that even though cats like the dark, they can't see in total darkness. Indeed, they need a minimum of light to be able to move at night. So, you're probably wondering if you should leave a light on for your kitty at night: the answer is simply no.

What is the longest I can leave my cat alone? ›

Most felines will be perfectly content being left alone for up to 8 hours while you're at work. As long as fresh water is available, some cats can be left alone for up to 24 hours.

What happens if you leave a cat alone for too long? ›

There can be weather changes that will affect your cat's well-being; Your cat can get ill or injured; The litter boxes will be full, and your cat will start house-soiling; Your kitty can get lonely, depressed, or anxious.

What do cats do when they are alone? ›

In comparison to dogs, cats do often enjoy more solo activities such as self-grooming or discovering their newest hiding spot. This independence could be tied their wild ancestors, who were solitary animals.

What do house cats do at night? ›

Cats are social animals: your cat may have extra energy or be waking you up for attention. This can be a form of social play for your cat. Hunger. Cats often wake in the night to feed, which fits with their natural instinct to hunt in the twilight hours.

Are cats happier outside? ›

If you love letting your cat lounge outside, you may feel tempted to stop reading, but AHS experts want you to know that your outdoor kitty isn't any happier than it could be indoors.

Should you lock cat flap at night? ›

Cats may well ask to go out but if they get a meal or a treat instead and if necessary get some exercise playing with their owners before bedtime, they usually settle down. Just don't let them out! Keep the cat flap locked and cats well away from the cat flap and/or room with the cat flap if necessary.

Do cats need a light on at night? ›

Like other mammals, light is a necessity for their eyes to work properly. However, cats do need less ambient light than humans do to capture the same clear view by their eyes, and besides their eyes, cats can also explore the surroundings in the dark with the help of other parts of their body.

Should I leave a light on for my cat in the dark? ›

It doesn't matter. Cats can sleep in light and in near-darkness, and they can see in light and near-darkness. Whether you leave the light on or turn it off, is the same to your cat.

Should I leave a light on for my cat when I leave? ›

“It is best to keep your typical routine as much as possible if you are going to be away for the night. If there is usually a light on, then you should leave that as normal. However, having lights on throughout the night that aren't typically on could disrupt your cats' ability to sleep.”

Is it OK to leave kittens in the dark? ›

Should the light be left on or turned off? Remember, cats can see in the dark a lot better than you or I can, so your kitten will have no problem finding what they need, even in minimal light. However, you can leave the light on or provide a night light on the first night while they adjust to their surroundings.


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