Are cats nocturnal? Can cats see in the dark? Your pet's schedule. – USA TODAY


Internal biological clocks, also known as circadian rhythms, are universally shared by living organisms, according to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences News. The main driver of these cycles is light.
If an animal is active at night when it’s dark outside, it’s considered nocturnal. Examples of nocturnal animals include aardvarks, bats and owls, according to Active Wild.
The opposite of nocturnal is diurnal. Humans, who function mainly in the daylight, are diurnal. Other diurnal animals include lions, killer whales and polar bears, according to Animalia.
Because cats don’t seem to fit the diurnal mold. Many cat owners think their feline friend is nocturnal, but it’s not.
Just curious?:We’re here to answer your everyday questions.
Are cats nocturnal or diurnal?
Cats are actually crepuscular, a term which comes from the Latin word for “twilight.” Crepuscular critters are most active at dawn and dusk, according to Treehugger.
For this reason, cats are often at their most energetic at the times most humans are winding down, according to Hill’s Pet Food.
Many animals became crepuscular to avoid predators. Most predators are strictly diurnal or nocturnal, so crepuscular animals take advantage of the time when hunters are just waking up or falling asleep, according to Treehugger. It can also be hard for predators to see their prey during these hours.
Treehugger says rabbits, skunks, possums are among crepuscular species.
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Because cats can get around in homes in the dark, many owners think their cats have night vision, but this isn’t true.
Instead, cats take advantage of small sources of light that would not be enough to light a room for humans. Cats would not be able to see in total darkness, according to Purina.
Cats can see exceptionally well in low light, says Hill’s Pet Food Company. According to Purina, cats only need a sixth of the light humans need to see effectively, thanks to special characteristics of their eyes.
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