The fear of the dark is a common thing amongst humans, both young and old. This fear has burrowed so deep into our core that we end up wondering if our pets feel the same way too.
Even though it sounds like we are projecting our insecurities to our pets, it is a plausible thought to have running through our minds.
Cats with healthy eye sights should ideally be accustomed to the dark.
This is because cats have superior night vision ability compared to humans.
Their ability to do most of their hunting and other activities can be attributed to the intelligent design of their eyes.
If you are a cat owner, perhaps you are familiar with being woken with nocturnal packages. At one point, your cat must have dangled a mouse on its mouth by your bedside like it was a trophy.
Or perhaps a piece of cloth in its mouth in the dead of night. These nocturnal antics raise a lot of questions in our minds.
We have often wondered if cats are classified as nocturnal animals. But that is not the case.
Cats require a certain degree of light to sharpen their interesting eye sights. This means that cats can see better at dawn or dusk or with the tiny stream of light through the curtain’s partings.
Signs That Your Cat Is Afraid Of The Dark
Just like in humans, fear among cats largely depends on the personality.
Several things can trigger fear in a cat – a strange environment, unfriendly dog, loud noises, among others, can have your cat scurrying behind you for security.
Some cats can even respond unnaturally to fear. They can freeze or stay rooted to the ground, while others can become highly aggressive in self-defense.
These reactions, however, are attributed to physical threats.
Sorrowful Cries In The Darkness
A cat who is overwhelmed by darkness will begin to cry in sorrow when the lights are switched off.
If you notice the pattern of fumbling around and alarming cries every time the light goes off, you should worry about your little friend.
Ideally, a cat should be more comfortable and active in darkness.
If you have confirmed the fact that your cat has a fear of darkness, it is highly possible that your cat might have been exposed to unpleasant conditions after dark and is still traumatized.
It is also possible that your cat might be having a physiological condition that alters its night vision.
Another telltale sign that your cat is scared out of its wits when darkness sets in is its dilated pupils. Just like in humans, fear manifests physically in cats too.
Cats slit pupils are naturally designed to enlarge and become rounder when they are struck by fear or aroused.
The enlargement is to gather more light and maximize vision. Dilated pupils will look blacker and void.
Increased Heart Rate
A frightened cat’s heart rate will shoot up to a pounding point. An average heart rate in a cat should range between 120 to 140 beats per minute.
However, when a cat is paralyzed with fear, its heartbeat will accelerate to 180 beats per minute.
Wet Paw Prints
Just as we sweat when we are overwhelmed with fear, cats also tend to sweat when they are tense.
The reason why you should watch out for wet paw prints is that the sweat glands of a cat are interestingly found under the pads of their paws.
How To Help A Cat Out Of For Darkness
There are some things you can do to alleviate your cat’s fear of the dark. First, you should try introducing dim light into the cat’s sleeping room and see if it feels better.
If the cat still feels vulnerable and scared, do not leave him alone. Set up a bed for it at the corner of your bedroom, or let it share the bed with you.
You can also try creating spaces where your cat can hide when struck by fear.
Try also a pheromone diffuser, which will help to calm your stressed cat.
If the fear persists, plan a trip to the vet as there could be something seriously wrong with your cat’s vision.
Check for telltale signs like excessive eye discharge, discolored eyes, or unusually dilated pupils.
Always comfort your cat when it cries in the darkness. Do what you must to make it start purring and stop crying.