If you have just acquired a kitten, it is normal to be concerned about its care. You may be wondering whether or not kittens can sleep in the dark. In this article, I will explain whether your kitten needs a light night.
If you are struggling with the question ‘Should I leave a light on for my kitten at night?’ the answer is no. Cats have better night vision than humans and most animals. Even though cats don’t need a light at night, you can leave it on for safety reasons.
Have you just arrived home with a new kitten? Getting it to sleep for the first night can be a challenge. Even when you have the perfect sleeping area, you may be paranoid about turning the lights off. The article explains whether cats like to sleep in the dark if you should leave a light on, and how to find the best sleeping area for your kitten.
Should I Leave a Light on for My Kitten at Night?
Even though it is not necessary to leave a light on for your kitten at night, it may help you prevent accidents. When it is completely dark, you or other members of your household may accidentally step on the kitten.
Like humans, cats sleep better with the lights off. They have the pineal gland which regulates melatonin. Your kitten will be happier sleeping in the dark than with a light on. If you need to keep a light on, keep it small. Bright lights may affect the quality of your kitten’s sleep.
I think that turning the lights off is a better idea than leaving them on especially if your kitten doesn’t sleep in the middle of a room.
Once you make a decision, you have to be consistent. Establishing a habitual pattern helps your kitten sleep well.
Have your kitten sleep in the same area, at the same time, and the same lighting (or darkness) every night. If the kitten is new to your home, consider leaving a light on for the first night.
Cats take some time to get accustomed to new surroundings. Most kittens are active both at night and during the day. If you have trouble getting them to sleep, you can establish a sleeping pattern by turning off the lights at night.
Cats have good vision at night. However, they cannot see in the dark. They need some level of light to see clearly. However, they don’t need as much light as humans do. In fact, they only require 1/6th of the light that humans do.
If you choose to leave a light on, keep it really dim. What seems like dim to you may be bright in the eyes of your feline friend.
Cat eyes are designed to improve night vision. They have a curved cornea and a large lens. When there is minimal light, their pupils dilate to full circles letting in maximum light.
The photoreceptors of cats have more rods than humans. They improve motion sensing, night vision, and peripheral vision. They have a tapetum which helps the retina receive over 50% of all the available light. You may notice that your kitten’s eyes have some sort of a glow at night.
Even though kittens have better night vision than humans, they are near-sighted. They may be unable to focus on objects that are far away. If you leave them food or water, keep it close to their sleeping area.
How to Help a Kitten Sleep at Night
Bringing a kitten home for the first time is exciting. However, it has its fair share of challenges. One of the most common questions for new cat owners is where and how to put their kittens to sleep at night.
It takes some effort to ensure that your kitten feels safe and comfortable. The right place for your kitten to sleep should be warm, cosy, clean, and safe. Consider getting a small cat bed with warm and soft cushioning.
Cats are naturally nocturnal. They love to play and hunt in the dark. Your kitten is likely to be active at night. You may have trouble getting it to sleep at night. Fortunately, there are a few ways to encourage your kitten to sleep. Some of them include;
· Encourage Evening Playtime
Even though cats are almost always active all the time, they may be more active around dusk. Encourage them to play late in the evening. Cats like chasing, pouncing on things and stalking.
Schedule a play session about an hour before their bedtime. When it becomes a part of their routine, they may be able to sleep better at night. Do not let your kitten play in the evenings.
· Don’t Give it Attention
Don’t give your kitten attention if it is bugging you at night. Giving hyper cats attention encourages them to keep playing instead of sleeping.
If you give it attention, you may be encouraging it to keep up the behaviour. Even though it may be difficult at the beginning, it is one of the most effective ways to train your kitten to sleep at night.
· Offer Readily Available Breakfast
Your kitten is likely to get hungry early in the morning or in the middle of the night. When it is hungry, it will try to look for your attention.
If you get up to feed it, the kitten may develop the habit. Consider getting an automatic feeder. It will dispense some food at specific intervals. When your kitten gets up, it will have some food available.
What is the Best Place for a Kitten to Sleep?
Kittens spend a lot of time sleeping. Whether you choose to leave the light on or off, your kitten must have a good space to sleep. If your kitten doesn’t have enough sleep, they may be tired and their health may suffer.
Finding the right sleeping area for your kitty does not need to be difficult. The following are some of the most important things to keep in mind;
· Where do they like to Nap?
Take note of where your kitten likes to nap. Most cats will quickly find a warm and cosy napping area. They may sleep on the sofas, in your dirty laundry, or their pet bed. Identify where they like to nap and set their bed there.
· It Should be Peaceful
Your cat’s sleeping area must be quiet. If it is too noisy or busy, it may have trouble falling asleep.
Set the kitten’s sleeping area in a secluded part of the home. Avoid placing your cat’s bed in the living room or other busy parts of the home.
· Slight Elevation
Most cats like to spend their time in elevated areas. Keep that in mind when trying to find the right sleeping area. They should be in a position where they can view the entire room.
· Invest in Cat Furniture
When buying a cat bed, consider getting some cat furniture as well. The furniture may turn out to be your cat’s favourite sleeping area. Keep the furniture clean and cosy.
· Get a Washable Bed
Your cat bed should be washable. It is likely to get covered with bacteria and fur. If you don’t clean it, the bed may become unsafe for your cat to sleep. The bed you get must have a washable cover. That way, you can keep it clean at all times.
Can You Leave a Kitten Alone Overnight?
If your kitten is six months old or younger, I advise against leaving it alone overnight. Younger kittens need someone to check on them every once in a while. Check on them every four to eight hours.
However, that does not mean you have to keep an eye on the kitten at all times.
Like with any other pets, raising kitten takes a lot of time and effort. Fortunately, they need less attention after they pass the sixth month.
At four months, it may be okay to leave them overnight once in a while. Leaving your kitten unattended for long hours can cause anxiety. Try to check on your kitten before it goes to bed and when you wake up.
If you have to leave your kitten overnight, spend lots of time with it during the day. As your kitten grows, it requires constant stimulation to remain happy.
Generally speaking, young kittens should spend less time unattended than older cats. If you aren’t home, arrange for friends or family members to check on them regularly.
In conclusion, you don’t have to leave a light on for your kitten. They can sleep comfortably without light or with a dim light. However, using a dim light may be great for safety. It ensures that you do not kick or step on the kitten when checking on it at night.
As your kitten grows older, I suggest that you keep the lights off. Try to sleep train your kitten as early as possible. They should have a safe, warm, dark, and clean sleeping area. While your kitten is four months or younger, you may have to check on it a few times in the night.