Based on facts from various sources, we recommend you keep your cat in at night.
No matter what colour your cat is, it's difficult to see it in the dark.
Cats are more active at dawn and dusk. They will want to play and hunt more at these times in a natural environment. However, doing this outside in the dark or dusk where they can't be seen puts them at very high risk of road accident fatalities and other injuries.
Cats Protection states that 'According to studies by Pet Insurance companies, the findings were that approximately 78% of all road traffic accidents involving cats happen at night.'
A cat's body temperature is higher than ours. They feel the cold, just like we do - if their fur gets wet while outdoors in cold weather and especially for long nights, they are at high risk of hypothermia.
There is more risk of being harmed by other animals and humans overnight.
Cats are intelligent, playful and inquisitive in the daylight and in the dark where there is more danger.
Protect wildlife. According to Chris Packham, Britain’s cats are estimated to catch up to 275 million prey animals a year, including 55 million birds, and he says that owners have a responsibility to prevent damage to the nation’s wildlife....and can help by keeping their pets indoors at night.”
Contrary to popular belief, cats can't see in the dark. They can see better than we can in low light levels but not in darkness, and especially not when dazzled by headlights.
In short, most cats live longer, healthier, safer lives if their time outdoors is restricted to daylight hours.
How can I help my cat adapt?
Cats can change their habits over time. You can help your cat adjust to staying in at night by playing energetic games with your cat before bed time and feeding them their largest meal to help them sleep when you sleep. You might find this takes a little time to establish but it is easily achievable.
If you keep your cat indoors (at any time), you should make sure it has access to water, food and a clean litter tray and provide bedding somewhere quiet for it to sleep.
In order to relieve stress and keep your cat active and happy you can buy catnip toys from pet stores, and simple screwed up paper balls or ping pong balls will give your cat some cheap entertainment. Pet stores also sell calming plugins such as Feliway and Pet Remedy to help cats relax into a different environment.
If you still choose to allow your cat out at night, you should never lock it out entirely and be sure to provide good shelter and basic needs at all times.