One of the most innovative cat toys on the market is the laser pointer. These high-tech laser toys offer endless entertainment as your cat chases around the red light. While your cat has fun with the toy, some pet owners may wonder; are laser pointers bad for cats?
Holistically, laser pointers are not bad for cats to play with in a safe and controlled environment. The most significant danger involved is damaging your cat’s vision if the laser shines in their eyes.
Laser pointer toys offer a lot of enjoyment and entertainment to most cats, and you can feel confident knowing it isn’t bad for your cat to play with one as long as you are using it safely. Let’s dive more into the safety concerns with lasers and how you can effectively use the toy with your cat.
Are Laser Cat Toys Safe
Laser cat toys are safe for cats and humans to play with together. It would help if you never pointed a laser beam directly into your cat’s face or your face, as laser beams can cause permanent vision damage to both you and your cat.
For your peace of mind, you should know the laser beams used in cat toys are built so that your cat should not be injured if the laser makes quick and occasional eye contact. While this should be avoided, on the whole, the laser doesn’t hurt your cat if it touches its fur or paws.
Mentally a laser beam toy can be overstimulating for your cat if you play with it too frequently. It is an excellent idea to offer your cat a variety of toys, including physical toys such as balls or stuffed animals that they can play with interchangeably as well.
There are also versions of the laser pointer toy that you can automatically run throughout the day while you are not home. The lasers are pointed directly at the floor and make fun patterns, so you can feel confident it isn’t damaging your cat’s vision. This standalone version of the laser pointer toy also turns itself off after a set amount of time, which is a great feature to ensure your cat doesn’t wear itself out for too long chasing the light.
Do Laser Pointers Give Cats Anxiety?
Laser pointer toys can give cats anxiety.
There are a couple of reasons to support this view. The first reason is that a cat may become exhausted or overstimulated while playing with a laser pointer toy.
As the owner holding the laser pointer and letting your cat chase it around, you can make the game difficult for your cat to the point where they are winded and out of breath. This can stress your cat out as they want to keep playing but are physically worn out.
Also, cats can develop anxiety from laser pointer toys due to the nature of the game and the fact it is impossible ever to win and catch the laser.
This can be mentally upsetting for cats, as they don’t understand that it’s just a game or how the mechanics of it work. Some cats may become disappointed in themselves as they feel like they are bad hunters because they can never catch the laser pointer.
When cats get upset for this reason, they may start acting out through excessive grooming or meowing to express their displeasure.
Why Do Cats Like Laser Pointers So Much
Cats like laser pointers because of the motion laser pointers make when they move. The way laser pointers move is similar to the speed and direction of the way real animals move out in the wild.
It is fast-paced, unpredictable, and keeps your cat on its toes. This is called the “animacy effect,” which is why your cat has fun playing with a laser pointer toy for hours on end.
In general, cats are very attracted to any toy that involves movement or light. They enjoy chasing things and the thrill of hunting a toy down. While doing so, a cat can tap into its hunting instincts and essentially simulate what it is like to catch an animal in the wild.
Cats certainly aren’t drawn to laser points because they resemble real animals, but they love them because of their feeling while playing with them.
Additionally, there is ultimately something addicting about playing with a laser pointer toy, as your cat can never truly win and catch it, so they keep coming back to play thinking they will.
Why Do Cats Chase Lasers
Cats love chasing lasers because it’s an unpredictable, fast-moving light that somewhat resembles a fly or a small predator. Cats see the laser as a form of small enough prey they could catch, so they enjoy the thrill of chasing it and trying to pin it down.
A cat’s eyesight is very different from our own, and as a result, the fast and quick movement of the laser stands out to them. The movement triggers an instinct within your cat, and they will usually be off to the races chasing it around your home.
Why Doesn’t My Cat Chase A Laser Pointer
There are various reasons your cat does not chase a laser pointer, with the most common answer being they may be losing their eyesight or are already blind and can’t see the laser. Most cats love playing with the laser pointer toy so much that it is pretty unusual for a cat not to engage with the toy at all.
If your cat has impaired vision, they may struggle to locate or follow the red light, which would prevent them from enjoying the toy. Additionally, if a cat is older or ill, they may notice the toy but choose not to engage with it if they don’t have the strength to chase it around.
Some cats are quite intelligent and quickly figure out that you are the one shining the light around and that it is a game they will never win. If they catch on to you controlling the laser, they may lose interest over time and move on to other toys.
If a cat has a bad experience while playing with a laser pointer, they may become afraid of the toy and try to run away or avoid it because of their negative association. This might happen if your cat has ever had a laser pointer accidentally shone in their eyes before.
Do Laser Pointers Make Cats Crazy
Laser pointer toys can make your cat act crazier than usual while they are playing with the toy. The fast-paced motion and movement of the laser point can cause your cat to run around frantically trying to catch the red light, and they may act crazier than they typically would while chasing this toy.
This might also result in them acting a bit more aggressively than they usually would, as the laser pointer toy has them feeling more high-energy and worked up than usual.
If your cat gets excessively excited or aggressive after playing with a laser toy, you may want to switch to a physical toy that they can have the satisfaction of catching.
In addition, rewarding your cat with a treat after playing with their laser pointer can assuage some of their aggression by shifting the focus to something else and praising them for their efforts chasing the laser pointer.
Some cat owners say that their cats seemed to develop destructive behaviors like clawing the furniture or biting things due to playing with the laser pointer.
This might be because they feel extra rambunctious while playing and do not control their actions. It also may be a side effect of your cat feeling anxious from playing with the laser pointer and acting out in frustration.
Do Laser Pointers Frustrate Cats
Yes, laser pointers are both fun and frustrating to cats. They love having an opportunity to chase the light and feel like they are hunting something, but the toys don’t satisfy catching real prey, which is frustrating to your cat.
It can be detrimental to your cat’s self-esteem if they feel like they are never winning or aren’t a good hunter, but it depends on your cat’s personality. Some are more sensitive to this, while others will play the game for hours and be completely unfazed that they can’t seem to catch the laser pointer.
The Humane Society recommends that you give your cat a different toy or treat when you finish playing with them to prevent your cat from becoming too frustrated about the laser pointer.
Is It Cruel To Play With A Laser With A Cat
It is not cruel to play with a laser with your cat. It would be cruel to shine a light in your cat’s eye with the laser pointer, but this can easily be avoided while you are playing with the laser pointer together.
It is very healthy for you to play with your cat, especially if they exclusively live indoors. They need stimulation from fun toys to keep their minds sharp and to stay agile.
It is a sad reality that over 60% of house cats end up being overweight at one point in their life, and a significant contributor to this is their lack of daily exercise. While you can take a dog outside for a walk, you have to get creative about how you will make sure your cat gets enough exercise each day.
A laser pointer toy is a great modern invention that helps cat owners ensure their cat is active and running and jumping throughout the day. Cats are very sedentary animals, so without a little prompting, it is unlikely that they would exercise that much on their own.
Even if you decide laser pointer toys aren’t for you and your cat, you need to make sure you spend that quality time with them each day.
Things To Consider
In general, it can be challenging to find activities that your cat finds genuinely engaging, so the laser pointer toy is a massive win if your cat loves it. They are safe for cats to play with, and the positives far outweigh the negatives associated with the toy.
While cats have a lot of fun with laser pointers, it is not advised to try and have laser pointer playtime with your dog. There is a higher risk of damaging your dog’s vision while you play, as they are bigger animals and can move faster to chase the laser around.
Dogs tend to have a stronger and more dangerous reaction after playing with laser toys, and owners have reported that they become strange around any light sources, as they associate it with the laser pointer game.
While cats see chasing the laser pointer as a fun game, it does more psychological harm than good for your dog. They become obsessed with the chase, and it can lead to serious behavioral problems. It’s better to stick with safer alternatives like playing fetch or throwing a frisbee to keep your dog safe.
If you are looking for new and innovative activities for your cat or dog, a relatively new item on the market is food puzzles. All of them are designed a little bit differently, but the puzzles are made to keep your curious cat busy as they learn the puzzle to unlock their food.
These are such a great toy to have on hand for cats or dogs prone to getting into mischief while you are not home.
Over time as your cat learns how to unlock the puzzle, there are even ways to increase the difficulty level to ensure they stay preoccupied for longer! It’s great to have different toys on hand that help your cat stimulate their mind while also rewarding them with treats in the process.