When you break out the laser pointer in front of a cat, you’re sure to see twitching tails, dilated eyes, and darting paws. Most cats love to chase the laser across the house, over furniture, and up the walls. Why do cats love that little red dot so much?
Why Cats Love Lasers
Think of your cat’s natural prey. In the wild, a cat may hunt mice, birds, bugs, and other small creatures. Their instincts tell them to stalk or chase anything small and darting. The laser pointer moves erratically like a panicked rat or bird trying to escape.
Laser Play Ideas
- For active cats, set aside some time every day for a short laser play session.
- Use laser toys to encourage overweight cats to get some exercise.
- Shine the laser around a cardboard box or cat tree so your cat can practice stalking and hiding.
- Keep a laser pointer clipped to your belt to distract your cat when she gets into trouble.
- Turn on an automatic laser toy to entertain your cat while you’re away.
Kinds of Cat Laser Toys
Handheld laser pointers or laser pens are often the first way we find out our cats like lasers. They’re portable and convenient to keep around the house, but you often have to hold the button down to keep playtime going.
Cat laser toys are designed specifically for cats, with an on/off button to keep the laser on automatically. You can find stationary toys that attach to the wall or you place on the floor, toys that rotate the laser around the room, and toys that project random laser patterns. Toys like the Bolt and Dart have an automatic timer that lets you turn on the toy to give your cat short play sessions without draining the batteries.
Try different kinds of lasers and lights to see which kind your cat prefers. Some cats like small flashlight beams or reflected light beams. For some reason, my cats prefer our laser level’s horizontal light beam. All 4 of them instantly focus on me when they hear the button of the level turning on. Maybe they think it’s some kind of rare, flying snake-bird creature instead of a common red dot bug creature.
Laser Safety Tips
The majority of cats have no problems playing with lasers, but some cats can become obsessed with the toy and get frustrated when they realize there’s nothing to catch.
For these cats, include a physical toy during play sessions. A stuffed mouse, catnip toy, or feather wand are perfect. Your cat can wear herself out chasing the laser and then get the satisfaction of “killing” the other toy.
When playing with lasers, don’t point it directly in your cat’s eyes. While PetSafe laser cat toys were created to be safe for use with cats, not all laser pointers or toys have the same safety standards.