Lifestyle with Cat

Why Laser Pointers Could be Bad for your Cat (it’s not what you think!)

laser pointers

Have you ever seen your cat go bonkers chasing that red dot across the floor? It’s pretty entertaining. But have you heard that laser pointers are bad for cats? This article will answer the burning question: are laser pointers a purrfect plaything, or should we keep the red dot safely stashed away?

Are laser pointers bad for cats?

Most concern surrounding laser pointers and cats stems from the laser itself. Is it dangerous for their eyes? Of course, you don’t want to point the beam directly into your cat’s eyes on purpose, but no – the laser isn’t the problem with laser pointers. The real danger is the feeling of frustration a game of laser tag leaves with your cat.

Why do laser pointers leave cats frustrated?

When your kitty sees that little wiggly ball of light from a laser pointer, nothing matters to him more than catching it. Unfortunately, the problem is there’s nothing there to ‘catch’, since it’s just an ungraspable bundle of light. And, it turns out, the lack of closure your cat experiences from endlessly trying to catch it may actually be screwing with his head.

Cats instinctively chase those bright red laser dots simply because they’re moving; stimulating their natural prey drive. The laser beam’s incessant moving taps into this prey drive and the cat can’t help himself – he has to chase it.

But, according to well-known veterinarian, Dr. Marty Becker:

“The potential problem with these toys comes because the cat can never “win” the game. Even if a cat catches the dot there’s nothing there. The cat gets all worked up with no resolution — every time. Even in the wild, a hunting cat will catch the prey now and then. But there’s no catching that alluring, fast-moving red dot!”

If your cat loves to chase, Dr. Becker recommends using more tangible toys that he can actually catch, as some cats will redirect their frustration in ways that may hurt them or you.

How your cat can safely play with a laser toy:

However, if you can’t find a toy that gets your feline friend as excited as the laser, another solution we really love is to hide treats around the room and occasionally land the laser light on the treat to surprise your kitty. Problem solved!

So, while laser pointers can provide a quick burst of fun, it’s important to remember our cats like a good conclusion, just like we do! To keep your kitty from feeling frustrated, try ending playtime with the laser pointer by directing the red dot onto their favorite toy or a yummy treat. That way, your cat gets the satisfaction of a “catch,” and you can both enjoy some quality playtime without any lingering kitty confusion. Now you can go forth, laser pointer in hand (used responsibly, of course!), and create some truly epic playtime memories with your favorite furry hunter!

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