Pros and Cons of Laser Pointer Cat Toys

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
Cats seem to love chasing the dot created by a laser pointer, but is this really the best toy for your kitty? Let’s talk about the pros and cons.

The Pros of Laser Pointer Toys

Because cats are such fantastic hunters, they enjoy any toy that gives them the chance to chase down prey. When they see that red dot moving across the floor, their predatory instinct can’t help but kick in and entice them to stalk, take down, and kill that dot. So, in this regard, a laser pointer could be a great way to encourage your kitty to jump, run, and get some much-needed exercise. And if your cat is the type who gets bored with the usual feather toys and catnip balls, a laser pointer could help keep him active and in shape.

Related: Top 5 Gotta-Have-‘Em Cat Toys

On top of that, using a laser pointer is a good way to interact with your kitty, who thrives on getting attention from you. Rather than leaving toys out for your pet to play with on his own, a laser pointer includes you in the play session, so it makes for a great bonding experience too.

The Cons of Laser Pointer Toys

Even though a laser pointer could provide hours of fun for your cat, it could also end up causing your feline friend a good amount of frustration. That red dot certainly gets your cat moving because he wants to pounce and attack, but the problem is that he can never really capture his prey. Imagine yourself in your kitty’s position, where you can clearly see your target but it always manages to elude your grasp. You never get that feeling of accomplishment, so you are never quite satisfied, even if you did have some fun along the way. Pretty aggravating, right?

Related: How Safe Is Your Cat From His Favorite Toys?

Also, some cats who play with laser pointers might exhibit negative behaviors, such as clawing at furniture. Experts think that it might have something to do with the inability to catch their target. In other words, bad behaviors could result from the pent-up frustration and aggression that can’t be released through the sense of accomplishment that comes with taking down prey. Other cats might even exhibit behaviors that would be described as paranoid or anxious after you put the laser pointer away, and they might keep acting as though they’re chasing the dot even when there isn’t one there. All of these behaviors are signs that a laser pointer may not be the best choice of toy for your kitty.

A Better Way to Play with Laser Pointers

If your cat gets excited when you pull out the laser pointer for playtime, you can make the experience even more enjoyable by ending each play session with a physical toy that he can grab with his paws and chew on. Just make the red dot land on a toy that your kitty likes, as that might help your pet feel as though he really did take down his prey. Or switch to another toy, such as a wand with feathers, that your cat can tackle and hold. And you can even incorporate the use of a treat to further satisfy your little hunter.

It’s also worth noting that you should never point the laser right into your kitty’s eyes, as that could do damage to your pet’s vision. Using laser pointers that are designed to be safe for pets and people is definitely the way to go, but you should still avoid looking directly at the laser.

Ultimately, using a laser pointer is a fun way to get your cat to exercise and play, but keep your pet’s safety and satisfaction in mind to ensure the toy won’t do any harm.

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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