- Laser Toys and Cats
Laser Toys and Cats
Laser toys can be a fun way to play with a cat. Cats often go crazy for the red dot of a laser toy, and they can be so cute as they chase it around and pounce on it. A laser toy can be a great way to get an indoor cat some much-needed exercise. But there are some risks involved with laser toy play, so be sure you know what those are and how to mitigate them before using one to play with your cat.
Risks of Laser Toy Play for Cats
Laser lights are dangerous to pets and people if they are shone directly into the eyes. It's important to remember that at all times when playing and it's best if children aren't allowed to handle the laser toy. Laser toys that move constantly are probably safer than those controlled by a person.
Additionally, laser toy play can cause cats to develop OCD-like symptoms such as over-grooming. The reason for this is that the laser light isn't catchable. For a predator like a cat, that can be extremely frustrating and upsetting. Also, not understanding where the light comes from nor being able to smell or hear it like they would a rodent or bird may cause a cat to become jittery, always watching for the dot to appear.
Interactive Play Is Great for Cats
Interactive play that allows cats to practice their hunting skills is wonderful for cats. It helps them keep moving, relieves boredom, and keeps them mentally and physically sharp. Wand toys are especially helpful for playing with cats.
However, when your cat needs even more play than you can provide with one-on-one time, automatic toys can help fill the gap. Just be sure you aren't using them to replace all bonding time with your cat, and if you're using an automatic laser toy, follow the tips below.
Safety Tips for Laser Play with Cats
Whenever you allow your cat to play with a laser toy, you should be prepared to help her experience a satisfying hunt. That means having a toy available that you can toss to her periodically and definitely at the end of the play session. That gives your cat something to catch and "kill," which the laser light itself doesn't allow for.
After tossing the toy to your cat and letting her bite, bunny kick, and "kill" it, it's a great idea to give her a tasty treat, which also helps simulate a successful hunt for her. Allowing your cat to experience these satisfying end-points to the hunt can help keep her from experiencing negative mental side effects from laser play. However, if you notice jitteriness or behavior that indicates distress or upset in your cat after laser play, it might be best to avoid using lasers for playing with her in the future.