catTurning out the lights when you leave the house can be a good habit to have from an economic standpoint, but leaving your cat in complete darkness can actually be very stressful for them. Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t leave your cat in the dark when you’re gone for the day.

Cats can’t see in total darkness

While it’s true that cats can see in the dark, it’s a common misconception that they can see in total darkness. Cats are not nocturnal, but they are crepuscular, which means they are most active at dawn and dusk. Although a cat’s eyes are able to capture and use 50 percent more available light than people, they cannot see at all unless there is some source of light in the room. After all, even the night sky has star shine and moonlight.

Your cat might get lonely

When you’re home during the day, your cat gets used to a certain level of activity. After a while, your cat associates noises and activities with your company, such as having the TV on, listening to music, and using the lights. If once you leave, everything goes dark and silent, your cat may start to feel abandoned.

You could trip

One less obvious reason to leave on a little light when you leave is to avoid tripping over your cat. If your light switch isn’t right by the front door, there may be a chance that you don’t see kitty waiting for you. Various toys scattered around the apartment also pose a tripping hazard that you might not see in the dark.

At the end of the day, switching off the lights reduces your carbon footprint, and your energy bill. If you’re not thrilled about the idea of leaving on all of your lights, consider getting LED nightlights that come on automatically once it’s dark or utilizing a lamp on a timer.

Worried about leaving your cat alone in the dark? Hiring a pet sitter to check on kitty can put your mind at ease, but please don’t forget to show us where your light switches are!

Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

photo by Kartlyn Earth & ArtKN on flickr