Cats Go Crazy Over Laser Pointers. Reddit Users Share Their Funniest Stories

Overview of Cats Chasing Laser Pointers

Laser pointers have become a popular cat toy in recent years. The bright red dot stimulates cats’ natural prey drive, causing them to enthusiastically chase after it. Cat owners often find it entertaining to move the laser pointer around and watch their cats excitedly pounce and leap as they try to “catch” the elusive red dot.

However, the use of laser pointers for cats has become somewhat controversial, especially on internet forums like Reddit. Some claim that laser pointers are cruel because the cat never actually catches anything, leading to frustration. Others argue laser pointers are fine in moderation and can provide cats with needed exercise and mental stimulation. There is an ongoing debate about the pros and cons of playing with cats using laser pointers.

In this article, we will explore the popularity of laser pointer play for cats, the potential risks and benefits, recommendations from vets, and perspectives from cat owners based on discussions on Reddit and other forums.

Popularity of Laser Pointers for Cats

Laser pointers have become a popular cat toy among pet owners in recent years. In fact, a survey by the American Pet Products Association in 2021 found that laser pointers were one of the top 5 best-selling cat toys. Another study of pet owner purchasing behavior conducted by market research group IRI found that laser pointer sales for pets increased 270% from 2006 to 2016. This significant growth is indicative of laser pointers becoming more mainstream.

Pet owners love that laser pointers provide great stimulation and exercise for cats in an easy, convenient way. When asked in surveys about their cats’ favorite toys, many owners report laser pointers rank near the top. Anecdotally, cat owners share that their cats become very engaged, energized and enthralled when chasing a laser pointer dot around the house. The laser provides a source of prey drive fulfillment and mental stimulation for indoor cats. When used properly, laser pointers can be an enriching interactive cat toy.

Why Cats Love to Chase Laser Points

Cats love to chase laser pointers because of their strong instinct to hunt prey. According to Psychology Today, “cats chase the laser pointer’s dot of light because it changes direction and speed. To your cat, the unpredictable movements resemble those of a prey animal trying to escape” (https://www.purewow.com/family/why-do-cats-like-laser-pointers). The laser pointer stimulates their prey drive by moving fast and unpredictably like something they would naturally hunt.

In addition to triggering their hunting instincts, chasing the laser provides cats with important mental and physical stimulation. The laser pointer play satisfies their desire for activity and exercise. It also provides mental stimulation as they focus their attention on stalking and capturing the fast-moving dot. This type of interactive play helps prevent boredom and promotes a healthy mind and body for cats.

Concerns Around Laser Pointer Play

Although playing with laser pointers is enjoyable for many cats, there are some concerns around using them. Specifically, there are worries about lack of “catching” satisfaction, potential obsession/frustration, and eye safety.

One of the main issues is that cats never actually “catch” the laser pointer, which can lead to frustration (Kogan et al., 2021). Their natural hunting instincts tell them to chase and catch prey. But with a laser pointer, there is never that satisfying conclusion of catching something. This can cause obsession in some cats as they become determined to “trap” the ever-elusive laser.

Additionally, laser pointer play may encourage repetitive behavior that resembles obsession or compulsion, as cats try in vain to catch the moving dot of light (Hill’s Pet, 2021). This can potentially lead to anxiety and stress in some cats.

There are also eye safety concerns if the laser pointer shines directly into a cat’s eyes, even briefly. Laser pointers can damage the retina and cause visual impairment or even permanent blindness if misused (PetMD, 2021). So care must be taken to avoid aiming the laser at a cat’s face or eyes.

While laser pointer play can be fun for cats, it’s best used in moderation alongside other toys, and with proper eye-safety precautions.

Reddit Discussions on Laser Pointers

Laser pointers are a controversial topic among cat owners on Reddit. There are several popular threads debating the pros and cons of playing with cats using laser pointers.

In a thread titled “My cat doesn’t respond to laser pointers. Does yours?” https://www.reddit.com/r/cats/comments/4bkm3s/my_cat_doesnt_respond_to_laser_pointers_does_yours/, many owners shared that their cats ignore laser pointers entirely. However, the majority said their cats love to chase laser dots. There was debate around whether the play is mentally stimulating or frustrating for cats.

The thread “What’s your opinion on laser pointers?” https://www.reddit.com/r/cats/comments/18y5uyy/whats_your_opinion_on_laser_pointers/ contains arguments against using lasers due to the risk of obsession, stress, and lack of “closure” when cats cannot catch the dots. However, some owners insist their cats enjoy the playtime and don’t exhibit negative behaviors.

Overall, Reddit discussions reveal mixed opinions about laser pointer play for cats. While some owners swear by lasers for exercise and enrichment, others argue they can trigger neurotic behaviors in some cats. Vet advice and close observation of the individual cat seem to determine appropriate use.

Vet Recommendations

Pet experts like veterinarians generally agree that laser pointers can be fine for cats in moderation, but owners should take some precautions (PetMD). The key is to keep laser playtimes short, unpredictable, and stimulating. Kittens and young cats often enjoy chasing lasers the most. Laser games should only last 5-10 minutes, a couple times per day at most.

Vets recommend swinging the laser pointer around unpredictably to keep cats engaged and avoid frustration (Kogan 2021). End each session by leading the cat to a treat or toy reward. This provides closure and a sense of capture. To avoid obsession, limit laser play to special occasions or as a reward.

Alternatives like toy fishing poles can allow cats to pounce on a physical object at the end. But when used properly in moderation, laser pointers offer unique benefits for exercising and bonding with cats.

Best Practices for Laser Pointer Play

When using laser pointers for playtime with cats, it’s important to follow some best practices to make the experience rewarding and not frustrating for your feline friend. According to The Wildest, laser pointer play should always be interactive, allowing the cat to “catch” the light at the end. The ASPCA also recommends keeping laser play sessions short, no more than 15 minutes at a time.

Here are some best practices when playing with laser pointers:

  • Keep sessions short – Cats can get frustrated chasing a light they can never catch. Limit playtime to 15 minutes or less.
  • Make sure the cat gets a “catch” – End each session by leading the light onto a treat or toy so your cat gets the reward of catching it.
  • Use laser toys made for pets – Do not use laser pointers made for presentations as they can be too powerful. Choose a pet-safe laser toy instead.

Following these tips can make laser pointer play rewarding for cats without inducing frustration. Always monitor your cat during play and stop if they seem obsessive or distressed. With short, interactive sessions and a “catch” at the end, laser pointers can provide cats with stimulating play.

Other Stimulating Cat Toys

While laser pointers can provide some stimulation, there are many other interactive toys that can provide more enriching play for cats. Some popular mentally stimulating alternatives include:

Catnip toys – Many cats go crazy for catnip, which can trigger a euphoric response. Catnip-filled toys like mice, balls, and tunnels can provide an irresistible playtime challenge.

Food puzzle feeders – These require cats to manipulate and move the toy to get treats or food out. This gives their brains a workout as they figure out solutions. Popular styles include treat balls, mazes, and food dispensing toys.

Battery-operated toys – These provide unpredictable movement, lights, and sounds to capture kitty’s attention. Some examples are feather wands, rolling balls, and automated laser toys.

Tunnels and track toys – Chasing and prowling through tunnels or batting balls around a circular track lets cats mimic hunting behaviors.

Crinkle toys – Lightweight balls, mice, and other toys made with crinkly material create noise and movement when bats or tossed around.

By engaging a cat’s natural behaviors and providing an interactive challenge, these toys give cats an outlet for energy and keep their minds engaged. Rotating a variety of stimulating playthings will help prevent boredom.

Providing a Fulfilling Environment

Providing a fulfilling environment is crucial for an indoor cat’s wellbeing. Interacting with their owners through playtime activities is extremely important for enrichment. Be sure to set aside at least 10-15 minutes twice daily for interactive play with toys like wands and laser pointers. This allows cats to exhibit natural behaviors like hunting, pouncing and climbing. Engaging with people also provides mental stimulation and strengthens the human-animal bond [1].

Cat-proofing your home is another way to create a safe, enriching space. Use child locks on cabinets, cover electrical cords and secure houseplants since many are toxic to cats. Providing vertical spaces via cat trees, wall perches and shelving allows cats to climb and survey their territory from above. Place these perches near windows with outdoor views. Cat condos with hiding spaces and scratching posts also encourage natural behaviors like scratching and hiding [2].

With a cat-friendly home setup and daily interactive playtime, owners can help satisfy an indoor cat’s needs for physical activity, mental stimulation and relaxation.

Conclusion

In summary, laser pointers can be an enjoyable stimulus for cats when used in moderation as part of a larger regimen of play and enrichment. Just be sure to use them for only short intervals, incorporate lots of other toys to prevent obsession, and monitor your cat’s stress levels. As with any activity, the most important factor is your cat’s happiness and wellbeing. While laser pointers spark natural prey drive, you want to ensure your cat also has opportunities to tap into his other instincts for scratching, perching, hiding, and more. With a balanced routine of interactive play, independent play, environmental enrichment, and human bonding, you can keep your feline friend both physically and mentally stimulated.

Scroll to Top