I am amazed at how much technology has advanced over the years. Just the other day, I stayed in a hotel that had voice commands for the toilet seat. I was so enthralled that I stood there saying “Up” and “Down” for a good minute.
One aspect that has come a long way is our lighting. Gone are the days when fluorescent and halogen bulbs were a common sight. Such lighting is now pretty obsolete and has been replaced with LED lighting.
Given how sensitive our cat’s eyes are, do we need to be concerned about our cat’s vision when using LED lights at home?
LED lights are generally safe for cats. Most cats are smart enough to avoid bright lights that can harm their vision. Ensuring that the wiring for the LED lights is kept away safely from your cat is more important.
Let us take a closer look at what LED light bulbs are all about and what type of lights can have an impact on our cat’s vision.
A Brief Crash Course On LED Lights
We all know LED lights as ‘LED lights’ but do you know what LED exactly stands for?
LED is the short form for ‘Light-emitting diode’. When we turn on the power, the electricity runs through a microchip which illuminates the LEDs.
LED lights are popular these days due to their longevity. They do not burn out like our old light blubs but get dimmer over time.
Don’t you just hate it when those old bulbs go “POP!” and give you a scare?
Another good thing about LED lights is that they run a lot cooler than conventional bulbs. The heat gets absorbed into heatsinks that keep the LED light bulbs cooler and working longer.
But trust me when I say you don’t wanna go touching LED lights with your bare hands. You can still get a burn from the heat.
Been there, done that.
The Wonders Of A Cat’s Eye
To understand the effects of LED lights on your cat’s vision, let’s take a look at the anatomy of a cat’s eye.
Cats have amazing eyesight. Not as good as their sense of smell or hearing but it is definitely a lot better than ours.
Our cats are made to operate in low light vision. Their eyes can see 6-8 times better than ours in dim light. Dr. Gaylord Brown, a veterinarian, says that cats only need about 15% of the light intensity of humans to be able to see clearly.
Given their sensitive eyes, cats have slits for pupils that are able to accurately expand or contract to control the amount of light entering the eye.
This helps to protect the cat’s eyes from strong sunlight or other light sources. Cats hate bright lights and tend to avoid areas that are very bright.
Do LEDs Bother Cats?
Based on my personal experience, I have not seen my cat or dog being bothered when my LED lights are on.
I have LED strip lights that are attached to my wall at about feet level. If I turn it on and my cat is close, he will just move to a spot that is darker.
I would think that our cats are smart enough to not stare at the LED lights with their eyes wide open and pupils fully dilated.
What Color Lights Can My Cat See?
For the longest time, many scientists assumed that cats were color blind. But that’s not entirely true. Cats can actually see some variance in color in their surroundings.
We humans have more cones than cats, 10 times more to be exact, in our eyes that enable us to see colors more vividly.
It is believed that cats can only see blues, gray and yellow.
Are Red LED Lights Bad For Cat’s Eyes?
There hasn’t been any concrete evidence that red led lights are bad for our cat’s vision. In fact, there have been studies that show the use of red light being beneficial to our pets in some ways.
Red light therapy works by delivering an energy boost to the cells of the animal. Red or infrared light can penetrate deep into our pet’s body to help with healing by increasing blood circulation.
Here are some benefits of red light therapy for pets:
- Helps with joint pain
- Reduces skin inflammation
- Helps to heal injuries
- Helps to relax muscles
With the adoption of LED lights in red light therapy, pet owners can now purchase the device and use it at home at their own convenience.
I have yet to test out red light therapy on my pets but if you have gotten good results from it, please share it with me.
What Color LED Lights Are Good For Cats?
Even though our cats aren’t exactly the best when it comes to seeing colors, they can still see a decent enough range for them to appreciate colors.
Let’s say that you are building a cat area for your cat and you’re looking to use led strip lights to add some color.
Dr. Marty Becker of the American Humane Association says that cats tend to react more calmly toward colors in the easter palette. Basically most pastel hues would be ideal.
I have used ‘color-adjustable’ led light bulbs for my living room that allows me to change the color to suit my mood. Works great when I have guests over.
You can use this to switch the colors around to see which ones your cat likes best.
Is Blue Light Bad For Cats?
There was a study done by Havard Medical School about the dangers of blue light affecting our sleep patterns.
Blue light is everywhere around us. It comes from the sun, our LED lights and electronic devices.
The aim is to use less blue light a few hours before we sleep or our bodies will still think that it is daytime.
There are other studies that claim blue light is also bad for animals. I’ve honestly yet to see my cat’s or dog’s sleeping pattern being disrupted by the sun or my home lights.
But if you have a pet who is sensitive to light when it comes to sleeping, it might help to have a dark and quiet corner for it.
Keep LED Wiring And Lights Away From Cats
Do your best to keep your LED lights and wiring away from your cat as much as possible. Even though cats know how to move away from a bright light source, extended exposure to bright lights can affect your cat’s vision.
You don’t want your cat getting burned by the hot led lights if they happen to get too close.
There are also some cats that enjoy nibbling at wiring out of curiosity or a medical condition called Pica.
This causes the cat to chew and ingest inedible objects like fabric, metal, glass, wires, etc. It isn’t safe for your cat and can be managed with proper care and vet advice.
Be Careful When Using Laser Pointers
If you have never let your cat chase a laser pointer before, you are missing out on a lot of laughs and playtime for your cat.
When my cat was younger, he goes ape nuts whenever I start shining the laser pointer on the floor. He can chase it for hours and not give up.
These days, as an older and wiser cat, he looks at the same laser pointer with much disdain for being fooled by such a simple device.
When using the laser pointer with your cat, never shine it directly at your cat’s eyes. Laser lights can cause permanent retina damage and affect its vision.
The purpose of using the pointer is to stimulate your cat’s prey drive. Some cats can go nuts when doing so. Don’t make your cat jump on elevated platforms to try and catch the pointer. Just keep everything at ground level to be safe.
It is good to know that our cats are not affected by the LED lights that we use at home. It would be best to also buy good quality LED lights that can last longer, stay cooler and operate at the specified light temperature.