Why Do Cats Like Laser Pointers?

I’m sure every cat owner owns one: A laser pointer. It’s simple to entertain your cat with a laser pointer. You turn it on and your cat chases it like crazy while you can stay on the couch and watch your favorite TV series. It’s hilarious to see your kitty go crazy over a little red dot, walking over the walls, making crazy jumps just to catch it. But why do cats like it so much?

Why Do Cats Like Laser Pointers?

Our laser pointer.

Our laser pointer.

Cats are just like their bigger cousin predators. They have agility, strength and speed. Whether your cat is indoors or outdoors, they all have the same instincts and they want to hunt. The laser pointer changes direction a lot and it’s going fast. It’s moving and that is what brings the predator out in your cat. They see a little prey in that red dot, as it moves the same way as their prey would. So it’s worth chasing!

For indoor cats, this can be the perfect toy. They don’t need to hunt for food anymore but if they don’t have to hunt anymore, there needs to be another way to get rid of that built-up energy. They still need to be stimulated and the best way to do this is to mimic the part where cats should hunt. A laser dot makes the perfect “prey”, and it stimulates your cat, uses up his energy and is good exercise.

What To Watch Out For

The laser pointer is a toy to use carefully around your cat.

Cats can develop behavior issues around the little dot. Some cats may become frustrated when they can’t catch the dot, and this may result in aggressive behavior such as biting. Your cat may also become overly stimulated by light and chase light that comes through the window blinds, or the sun reflecting from your watch onto the wall.

IMG_2215

The best way to avoid this behavior is to give your cat something he can put his teeth into (example: a toy filled with food) after the play session. The reward becomes the prey your cat has actually caught.

Avoid shining the laser pointer directly into your cats eyes. The laser pointers that are sold for cat-toy purposes are supposed to be safe for your cat and his eyes. But it’s always uncomfortable to have a bright light shining in your eyes. Don’t make the laser pointer your cat’s only toy. Your cat also needs something to grab, something he can bite and put his claws in.

The laser toy is a great toy to entertain your cat with and to get him to exercise, but we also need to think about the safety of your cat and watch out for weird behavior.

Written for the Anipaltimes.

Do your cats like the laser pointer?

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12 Responses to “Why Do Cats Like Laser Pointers?”

  1. Geraldine

    Mr. Cheddar does like his laser mouse but only when he decides he wants to play with it. Not too often or he loses interest. :)

    Reply
  2. heretherebespiders

    My Bengal is soooo smart, he knows it is just a toy. He doesn’t care, he wants it anyway! I used to have one that looked like a pen: when I grabbed it, he would watch me holding it, then look at the floor! Waiting for the red dot. We now have the Bolt – you just turn it on and walk away, so you don’t even have to be the human in charge! http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/cae2/

    Reply
    • Dianda

      My sister has the bolt I believe! But what if it accidentally shines in their eyes? :o or am I just being overprotected? :P

      Reply
  3. Tom Duhamel

    There was a time when I did own a laser as a toy for Catou, which was back then the only cat in the house. It was attached to my keyring, always in my pocket, so it was convenient. But I stopped after a while because I noticed problems. First, Catou would be at my feet meowing every time she would hear my keys, like an alcoholic looking for something to drink. Then, she could never stop running after it, I would get tired before she does, and she would run after it so long that she eventually looked like her heart would fail, but she would bug me for the rest of the night if I didn’t use the laser again.

    So I make sure there is no laser again in my house. Electronics is just as addictive for cats as it is for humans.

    Reply

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