Kittens, like other baby animals, are very vulnerable because of their small size and their not-yet-fully-developed systems. They need to be checked on from time to time, especially during the night. If they are under six months old it is advisable not to leave them alone at night, especially since they still do not have well-developed vision.
Can kittens see in the dark?
Kittens cannot see in the dark, especially if the room is completely devoid of light and there is no way that light can get in. However, in most situations when it is dark, cats’ eyes can adjust to the darkness so they can still see in low light conditions. So, in a room with absolute darkness, kittens cannot see, but in a room that is just dark, they can see better than humans.
Kittens and cats have curved corneas and large lenses. The pupils dilate in a full circle when there is low light, and kittens have better night vision than humans. Unfortunately, however, they are nearsighted and cannot focus on objects far away from them.
Should you leave a light on for your kitten at night?
No, you do not need to leave a light on for your kitten at night. Kittens have better vision than humans and sleep better at night with no lights on. Like us, they have a pineal gland that regulates melatonin which helps them to fall asleep and calms the body before sleeping. They can see in the dark if there is residual light from the windows and other parts of the house.
For your part, it may be good to put on some subdued light so you don’t accidentally step on your cat at night.
For kittens to settle in and sleep well, provide a small cat bed so they can sleep comfortably. Also, let them use their mother’s blanket to help them keep calm and comfortable.
How to help a kitten sleep at night?
To help your kitten sleep at night, do not keep a light on, but neither should you keep them in complete darkness. The absence or presence of light is not the only factor that makes your kitten sleep soundly at night. They should also be encouraged to have some playtime and exercise.
Kittens are still discovering their hunting instincts and they need to satisfy these instincts. Like all cats, they have midnight crazies but their behavior can be regulated. When you arrive home at night, spend some time playing with your kitten.
According to the Veterinary Centers of America, you need to have social play sessions with the help of chase toys or through reward-based training exercises to fulfil your kitten’s needs. Spend some time with your kitten and relieve their hunting instincts during the afternoon or evening, at least an hour before bedtime. This will help them burn energy so they will have a restful sleep during the night.
If your kitten pesters you at night, do not give it attention. If you give it attention, it will be encouraged to play instead of sleep.
Provide an automatic feeder so your kitten can have access to food if she gets hungry in the middle of the night. These feeders dispense food at certain intervals so your kitten will have food available at any time.
What is the best place for a kitten to sleep?
- It should be secluded and peaceful.
- It should be slightly elevated.
- Invest in a washable cat bed.
- Consider some cat furniture.
Kittens are small and vulnerable and it takes some time for them to get used to their new homes. They cannot see in the dark if the room is in total darkness; however, they can adjust to the darkness and can see in low light conditions. Compared to humans, kittens have better vision, and they sleep better at night with no lights on. Also, to help your kitten sleep well at night, encourage active playtime at least an hour before bedtime.
Image: istockphoto.com / Seregraff