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Do cats like TV left on?

Cats are fascinating creatures that bring joy, comfort, and love to millions of homes worldwide. As a cat owner, you might have found yourself wondering what kind of entertainment your furry friend would enjoy when you’re not around. Leaving the TV on is one option that comes to mind, but the question remains: do cats like TV left on?

To answer this question, we need to consider their natural instincts, behaviors, and how they perceive their surroundings. Some experts suggest that cats aren’t particularly interested in TV because they rely mostly on their sense of smell, hearing, and touch. However, others argue that cats can indeed enjoy watching TV if the content appeals to them.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of cats and TV and discover whether or not felines like having the television left on. We’ll explore some of the research done on this topic and provide tips for making your cat’s viewing experience more enjoyable. Plus, we’ll share some mind-blowing facts about cats that will make you see your furry friend in a whole new light.

So join us as we embark on a journey into the captivating world of cats and TV. Let’s find out if leaving the TV on is a good idea for our feline friends or if it’s just another myth about these mysterious creatures.

How Cats Perceive the World

As we observe our feline friends, it’s clear that they experience the world in unique ways. Understanding how cats perceive the world can help us better understand their behavior and preferences. In this post, we will explore how cats perceive the world through their senses.


Cats have a highly developed sense of sight, which allows them to see well in low light conditions. Their ability to detect movement and changes in light is superior to humans, making them excellent hunters. Their large pupils and reflective layer behind their retinas enable them to see in the dark. However, cats do not see colors as vividly as humans do, and they may struggle to distinguish between red and green hues.

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Cats rely heavily on their sense of smell to explore their environment and communicate with other cats. They have a unique organ called the Jacobson’s organ located in the roof of their mouths that allows them to detect pheromones in the air. This helps them identify other cats, mark their territory, and even find their way home. They can also use their sense of smell to find food and detect potential dangers.


Cats have an exceptional sense of hearing, which makes them excellent hunters. They are highly sensitive to high-pitched sounds and can hear frequencies up to 65,000 Hz (compared to humans’ maximum of 20,000 Hz). This allows them to detect the sounds of prey moving in grass or underbrush. Cats can also use their hearing to communicate with other cats by meowing or purring.


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Cats rely on their sense of touch to navigate their surroundings. Their whiskers are sensitive and help them judge distances and feel their way around in low light conditions. Additionally, they have specialized nerve endings in their paws that allow them to feel vibrations and textures. This helps them to detect prey, climb trees, and move around in their environment.


Cats have a limited range of taste compared to humans and are primarily carnivorous. They have a reduced ability to taste sweetness and are more sensitive to bitter flavors. This is because their ancestors evolved to eat meat, which doesn’t require the ability to taste sweet flavors.

Reasons Why Cats May Enjoy Watching TV

Cats are naturally curious creatures, and it’s not surprising that they may take an interest in the television. There are several reasons why cats may enjoy watching TV, and as an expert on this topic, I’m here to expand on this subject.

Movement is one reason why cats may be drawn to the television. TV shows and movies often have fast-paced scenes with a lot of movement, which can catch a cat’s attention. This is especially true for shows with animals or wildlife because cats have an innate interest in hunting and chasing prey. Your cat may even try to paw at the screen, thinking they can catch their prey.

The sounds coming from the television can also be intriguing to cats. Many shows and movies have animal noises or music that may pique a cat’s interest. Some cats even seem to enjoy watching sports such as tennis or soccer, due to the sound of the ball being hit or kicked. Your cat may even start meowing or purring in response to the sounds they hear, showing their level of enjoyment.

In addition, cats are excellent at detecting colors, and they may be drawn to the vibrant colors on the screen. For example, a cat may be fascinated by the bright feathers of a bird or the colorful scales of a fish. This visual stimulation can provide entertainment and mental stimulation for your cat.

Furthermore, cats are social animals and may enjoy watching TV with their owners. Sitting near their favorite human while watching TV can provide a sense of comfort and security for cats. They feel relaxed when they’re around someone they trust and love.

It’s essential to note that not all cats enjoy watching TV, and some may even find it stressful or overwhelming. It’s crucial to monitor your cat’s behavior while watching TV and ensure that they are not becoming anxious or agitated. Additionally, it’s important to limit your cat’s TV viewing time and provide plenty of other forms of mental stimulation and exercise to keep them healthy and happy.

Potential Downsides of Leaving the TV On for Your Cat

One option that may seem like a great solution is leaving the TV on for your cat. But before you do, it’s crucial to consider the potential downsides that come with this choice.

Firstly, one of the main concerns is that prolonged exposure to television can be harmful to your cat’s eyesight. While cats may enjoy watching moving images, their eyes are not designed to focus on screens for extended periods. Over time, this can lead to eye strain and even vision problems.

Secondly, the noise from the TV can be overwhelming for some cats. If your cat is sensitive to loud noises or has anxiety issues, leaving the TV on could cause them undue stress and make them more agitated. This can lead to behavioral issues such as excessive meowing or scratching.

Furthermore, if your cat becomes too engrossed in what they are watching, they may neglect other important activities such as eating, drinking, and using the litter box. This can lead to health problems such as dehydration and urinary tract infections. It’s essential to ensure that your cat is staying hydrated and using the litter box regularly.

Lastly, leaving the TV on all day can also increase your electricity bill. While it may not seem like a significant amount at first glance, it can add up over time and become an unnecessary expense.

If you do decide to leave the TV on for your cat, there are steps you can take to minimize any potential risks. Firstly, limit their exposure by only turning the TV on for short periods of time. Secondly, monitor their behavior closely to ensure they are not experiencing any negative effects such as stress or neglecting their basic needs.

Is There Any Science Behind Cats Enjoying TV?

It may seem surprising, but there is actually some scientific evidence that suggests cats may enjoy watching TV.

Firstly, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that cats have a preference for videos of birds and small animals. These videos capture a cat’s instinctual response to prey, and therefore, watching such content on the screen can be particularly enthralling for them. This is because cats are naturally curious creatures and love to hunt.

Secondly, watching TV can provide cats with visual stimulation, which they find enjoyable. The flickering lights and sounds from the screen can also produce a calming effect similar to white noise, which can help them relax. This can be especially beneficial for cats when their owners are not at home.

However, it is important to remember that not all cats will be interested in watching TV. Some may become overstimulated or anxious by the sounds and images on the screen. As responsible pet owners, it is crucial to monitor your cat’s behavior and reactions to ensure they are comfortable and not being overwhelmed.

What Are Some Other Ways to Entertain Your Cat?

Here are some creative ways to keep your cat engaged and stimulated:

  • The Power of Play: Cats love playing with toys that allow them to unleash their inner hunter. Toys such as feather wands, laser pointers, and puzzle feeders are perfect for providing your cat with mental and physical stimulation. Not only do these toys keep them entertained, but they also help satisfy their natural instincts.
  • The Great Outdoors: Creating a safe outdoor space for your cat can be an excellent way to provide them with new sights, sounds, and smells. Consider setting up a catio or enclosed area where your cat can safely enjoy the outdoors. You can also provide them with a cat tree or perch near a window to give them the opportunity to watch birds and other wildlife.
  • Regular Playtime: Playtime is crucial for your cat’s health and well-being. It’s not just about giving them exercise, but it’s also about strengthening the bond between you and your furry friend. Try to set aside at least 15-20 minutes each day for interactive playtime with your cat. You can play games like hide-and-seek or fetch, or simply chase a toy around the house.
  • Consistency is Key: Cats thrive on routine and predictability. Establishing a consistent schedule for feeding, playtime, and sleep can help keep your cat happy and content. This will also help you identify any changes in their behavior that may indicate health issues.
  • Alone Time: Just like us humans, cats need some alone time too. Provide your cat with their own cozy bed or a quiet corner of the house where they can retreat when they need some downtime. This will help them relax and recharge their batteries.

Should I Leave the TV on for My Cat?

While some cats may enjoy watching TV, it’s important to remember that each cat has their own unique personality and preferences. To help you decide whether or not to leave the TV on for your cat, here are some things to consider.

Cats are natural hunters with a strong instinct to track and chase moving objects. So, if your cat enjoys watching TV, it could provide them with some entertainment. However, not all shows or channels may be suitable for your cat’s eyesight or level of stimulation. Some cats may prefer nature documentaries featuring birds or fish, while others may like cartoons with lots of movement and bright colors.

It’s important to keep in mind that leaving the TV on all day is not recommended. While it may provide some entertainment for your cat, it’s not a replacement for mental and physical stimulation. To ensure your cat gets enough enrichment, try incorporating other forms of play such as interactive toys, puzzle feeders, or creating a safe outdoor space or perch by the window for new sights and sounds.

When choosing which shows or channels to leave on for your cat, make sure to keep the volume at a reasonable level and avoid any shows or noises that may cause anxiety or stress. Cats’ eyesight is different from humans, and they may not be able to see certain colors or movements as well as we do. Additionally, some shows or noises may be too loud or overwhelming for cats.

How Can I Tell if My Cat Likes Watching TV?

After conducting some research, I’ve compiled some tips on how to determine whether or not your cat likes watching TV.

To start, let’s consider your cat’s behavior. If they’re sitting still and intently watching the screen for an extended period of time, it’s likely they’re engaged and interested in what’s happening on the screen. However, if they seem disinterested or even annoyed by the noise and flashing images on the TV, then it’s safe to say that it’s not their cup of tea.

It’s also important to keep in mind that every cat is unique and has different preferences. Some cats may enjoy certain types of programs, such as those featuring birds or other animals, while others may prefer quieter environments without the distraction of a TV altogether.

Another factor to consider is your cat’s personality. If they are more active and prefer physical stimulation, then watching TV may not be their favorite activity. On the other hand, if they are more laid-back and enjoy relaxing, then they may find watching TV entertaining.


To sum up, the question of whether cats enjoy watching TV is not a simple one. While some felines may take pleasure in it, others may find it overwhelming or anxiety-inducing. To determine your cat’s preferences when it comes to entertainment, you need to understand how they perceive the world through their senses.

Cats are naturally curious creatures and are attracted to movement, sound, and bright colors on the screen. However, prolonged exposure to television can be detrimental to their eyesight, and the noise from the TV can be too much for some kitties. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep an eye on your cat’s behavior while watching TV and ensure that they’re not experiencing any negative effects such as stress or neglecting their basic needs.

There are various other ways to keep your furry friend engaged and stimulated, such as interactive toys, puzzle feeders, providing them with a safe outdoor space or perch by the window for new sights and sounds. In addition, consistency is essential in establishing a routine for feeding, playtime, and sleep.

Ultimately, whether or not you leave the TV on for your cat depends on their individual personality and preferences. If they appear interested in what’s happening on the screen without experiencing any adverse effects, then it could provide them with some entertainment. Nonetheless, remember that leaving the TV on all day is not a substitute for mental and physical stimulation.

In conclusion, while cats may enjoy watching TV from time to time as a form of entertainment or distraction when you’re away from home; it’s important to monitor their behavior closely so that you can ensure that they’re comfortable and happy.