Everyone knows that cats like dark spaces and that they can see well in the dark, so you might be wondering if you should make your home dark when you have to go away. Closing curtains and leaving lights off might seem like it will give your cats an ideal environment, but that may not be the case.
Can I Leave My Cats In The Dark While I Go Away?
Cats won’t appreciate being left in total darkness while you’re away; they would rather things felt as close to normal as possible, so you should leave some curtains open, lights on, etc. Leaving a television on can also help to provide some noise if your cat is nervous about being left alone for periods of time.
Should I Leave A Light On?
Yes, it’s probably a good idea to leave a light on for your cat. They don’t need much light, but even cats can’t see when it’s pitch black. According to KatiesKitty, cats’ eyes can capture about 50 percent more light than people’s eyes, but they still need some light to see well.
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Also, just because your cat can see well in the dark doesn’t mean that it wants to be left in the dark. They can see well in the light, too! If you’re going away, don’t turn off every light and shut all the curtains; your cat won’t understand why it has suddenly been plunged into blackness and left alone.
Leaving a light on may make your cat feel more normal. The lights are on when you are at home, so if lights are also on when you’re away, their environment won’t feel as strange as if you turn all the lights off when you leave. To keep your cat feeling safe and happy, make everything else feel as normal as possible.
How Many Lights Should I Leave On?
This will depend on your home and your habits, but your cats don’t need many lights to feel safe and secure, and they don’t need bright ones either.
You could leave a bedroom lamp on with a low-energy bulb in it. The light from an appliance could also serve well in the kitchen, or you could add night lights in some of your rooms so that your cat can still go where they please without being in the dark.
Cats are most active in low light, so a dim bulb can be an excellent way to keep your cat awake and busy. It’s more likely to play and occupy itself and may miss you less as a consequence. If it wants to curl up and sleep, it might be wondering where you are and why you aren’t petting it!
If you just want to leave a couple of lights on, consider which room your cat is most often in when you aren’t at home. Put a light on in there, and then leave the main hallway light on so your cat can see when it moves to other parts of the house.
If you leave the door open to your bedroom or other rooms, the light should be able to spill in from the hallway, and this may be enough to make your cat feel comfortable in those rooms too. Your cat might choose to sleep in your bedroom even if they usually prefer other rooms because it will smell of you. If possible, let them do this.
Do I Have To Leave Lights On Full Time?
Consider using timers to switch your lights off during the day. This can solve the issue if you don’t want to leave the lights on all day and all night. It will mean your cat has a light at night, but you aren’t wasting power and money once the sun is up.
Your cat might also be comforted by the idea that the lights get switched off. If they are an astute feline, they may notice that this usually happens when people are around and feel reassured that they haven’t been abandoned.
A timer can also have the advantage of making it look like you are at home to any potential burglars watching your house!
I’ve personally found that setting a timer is the easiest way to keep your cat comfortable. This is the one that I use for keeping my pets safe and comfortable whenever I leave the house.
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If you don’t have a timer, you could also ask whoever is checking on your cat while you’re away to flick the lights on before they leave and off when they arrive.
This will save power and reassure your cat that there are people around, even if they don’t interact with the pet sitter.
What Else Can I Do To Reassure My Cat?
OurFitPets suggests that you might want to leave other things on for cats, such as the TV or the radio. This may work with some cats, but you should check if your cat enjoys these sounds before doing it for an extended period of time.
The background noises will reassure some cats. Others may be frightened or annoyed. If you’ve never left the television on when you leave home, they might be disturbed by the idea that the TV is on.
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The timer can serve again here, although once more, it might freak some cats out. If your cat doesn’t like loud noises, make sure the volume is low.
You should also check what’s scheduled to show while you’re away. Some cats respond to seeing other felines on TV and may find this stressful. Some, of course, will totally ignore what’s on the screen, but you don’t want your cat stressed out by something on TV, so check what’s going to be showing before leaving it on.
Another option you can try is cat music. Again, this is something to check out before going ahead with it. Not all cats enjoy cat music, but some do. If your cat seems reassured by tunes that have been created specifically for cats, consider making a playlist for when you’re away.
Have someone checking on your pet regularly. Your cat will need food and water. Of course, as well as litter box attention if they are kept indoors.
They may also appreciate having someone to talk to them, sit with them, etc.
If your cat suffers from anxiety when you’re away, you might consider getting a professional pet sitter. If they are more relaxed about being alone, it may be enough to have a neighbor looking in on them.
For your peace of mind, you might want to install a camera linked up to your phone. This can make it easy for you to check on your cat and see how they’re doing.
If the camera has voice functionality, you can also chat to your cat and reassure it with the sound of your voice, although some cats will find this confusing!
Don’t make a big fuss about leaving the house, as this is likely to make your cat stressed. Instead, stick to your regular routine. This will help your cat feel more relaxed whenever you go away.
Similarly, when you get back, treat it as a pleasant but everyday return, and your cat will equally view you going away as less of a problem.
Going away and leaving your cat can be stressful for both parties, but you can make it easier for your kitty by leaving the lights on and ensuring it can see, and everything feels normal.
Make sure somebody is checking in regularly to see that your cat is okay and think about how background noise may be able to help.