YouTube is filled with cute videos of kittens chasing laser pointers. They look adorable, don’t they? But, there is more that you should consider – are laser pointers actually bad for cats?
The correct answer is that laser pointers can be bad for cats if you don’t take the proper precautions necessary. Cats can develop behavioural problems due to overuse of laser pointers.
Many people love to find new ways to play with their cat. Using a laser pointer is one of the more commonly associated ways to play with a cat, as you’re unlikely to take them for walks as you would with a dog (you should consider whether using a laser pointer with your dog is a good idea, too).
But, there are a few things that you should consider before you start using a laser pointer with your kitty.
Laser Pointers can lead to behavioural problems
Your cat is a predator, just like the lions and tigers you’ll find in the wild. Okay, maybe not quite to the same degree, but it’s true – your cats instinct is to hunt.
When a cat is chasing something, it needs to be rewarded for it’s hard work. It needs to get a prize for all the effort that it puts into something. If a cat is playing with a regular toy, then it gets the physical impact of the toy against it’s claws or its teeth.
The issue with a laser pen is that you cat does not get this physical prize – the laser is an illusive toy that you cat is never going to catch. This can lead to behavioural issues in your kitty.
By behavioural issues, the main thing that you cat may have to deal with is an increased level of anxiety. There are stories of cats becoming obsessed with lasers so much so that long after you’ve stopped playing, the cat is still searching for it. Although these stories are relatively uncommon, it’s still something to consider.
The best way to ensure that this doesn’t happen is to end the laser game positively. By this, I mean give your cat something physical to catch. Whether it’s a treat or another toy, if you end the laser game by giving your cat something substantial – a prize for it’s hard work – then you can be sure that your cat won’t continue to search for the laser after you’ve finished playing.
Take care of your cats eyes
Your cats eyes are particularly sensitive, so it’s really important that you take care when you’re playing with them.
Although it’s difficult to avoid contact with your cats eyes entirely, ensure that you’re not directly the light at them for a prolonged period of time. Of course, be sure to use a lower mW laser pointer when playing with your cat to avoid any harm.
Positives of using a laser pointer with your cat
Whilst you definitely need to take care of your cat and make sure you aren’t hurting them, there are positives of using a laser pointer with your cat. It all depends on how you’re using your laser pen with them. If you use the laser pointer correctly, you can create a game that is enjoyable for both you and kitty. Let’s look at some of the benefits of using a laser pointer to play games with your cat.
- Creating a bond with your kitty – Like a child, when you get a new cat you want to develop a long lasting bond between the two of you. By playing fun games with your cat, you’re increasing the trust and affection between you, which is invaluable to your cats wellbeing.
- Good exercise – If you have a house cat that never really goes out, then it can be a good exercise for them to have something to do. There aren’t an abundance of things that you can do with your cat, so using a laser pointer with them is a good way to increase their physical activity.
- Mental Exercise – Not only is using a laser pointer with your cat good physical exercise, but it’s also good for their brain too. Believe it or not, cats get bored too – even though they appear lazy, they need some sort of mental stimulation.
- You can do it whenever – Unlike dogs that need walking all the time, owning a cat is a lot easier. You don’t need to take them on walks all the time. And with a laser pointer, you don’t even need to leave your chair!
To conclude, using a laser with your cat can be a great way to bond and increase the amount of physical exercise that they get. Just be sure to make sure that your cat is safe and happy whilst you’re playing together to ensure that you aren’t causing them any sort of distress.