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Laser pointers- Good or Bad???

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

Does anybody know if having my cat chase a laser pointer around the house for "playtime" is harmful in any way? (i.e. the ray, the rapid movements causing a weird reaction, etc.)

Thank you for your input!
post #2 of 21
The only things to be aware of are don't shine it in their eyes--keep it pointed onto a surface--and try not to play with it in an area that could be dangerous (i.e. near the edge of the stairs, near the corner of a wall that they could skid into, etc.). Other than that, it's a great form of exercise.
post #3 of 21
I think anything that exercises your cat in a way that they enjoy is probably good for them as long as you're not making them ill or obsessive. For example, just last week my rescue cat that lives under the bed (he's been here for about a year and a half and yes, just lives under the bed) learned how to play with me so I ran out and bought a feather wand thinking he'd like that even more. He *did*, in fact, love it even more... and I played with him for about thirty minutes solid... and then he threw up. So, next time I'll obviously only want to play with him for about ten or fifteen minutes, heh. You could try toying with different locations to add some variety with the laser pointer, although your cat probably has a favorite way to play with it. Momo *only* likes to be run around in tight circles (and therefore she gets it the shortest amount, since I don't want to make her ill), Ichimu prefers if I run it in long, straight lines up and down the length of the apartment, and Shin-Shin likes me to run it across the back of the futon so she can chase it sideways like Spiderman. Two of my cats don't like it at all, unfortunately.
post #4 of 21
Like the others have said, there really isn't a problem with the pointers other than they are dangerous to shine in eyes. Our cats love the laser pointer, but it needs new batteries so we haven't been able to play for some time now. Bad meow mommy here!
post #5 of 21
I've personally avoided laser pointers for my recently adopted cat, only because i read some reviews that the laser light could be frustrating for the cat if used a lot to play with. Mostly because the either the cat see the source of the light from your hand or the fact that he/she will never be able to capture the target. A couple of the reviewers mentioned that some cats can become so obsessed in the light that they cease to find delight in traditional toys and only wanting the thing that they can't capture.

I would love to use a laser pointer to play with her but i want her to have as close to an outdoor environment where if she achieves in catching the target that she can feel it on her paws and the reward of the capture.

post #6 of 21
I have known cats that love laser points and it certainly can give good exercise. I have found with my kitty Ares that not being able to catch anything was too frustrating, so I have quit using the pointer. He also had a highly frustrated reaction to the Blitz TurboScratcher Cat toy. (It is circular plastic with a heavy ball in a groove that he could not pull out.) I have found that wands seem to work best for him - he particularly loves Da Bird. Not every cat has a frustrated reaction to the laser pointer, but you should observe your kitty's responses to the laser to see if its the best toy for your kitty.
post #7 of 21
Lasers are good exercise but it can frustrate them if they can't "catch" it after a period of time. After a few minutes of laser, I switch it to another toy that she can actually tackle.
post #8 of 21
I use it in combination with other toys. When we are done with the laser, I also tell Zek "all done" so that he will learn that it won't reappear.
post #9 of 21
Originally Posted by cloud_shade View Post
I also tell Zek "all done" so that he will learn that it won't reappear.
I do that too Then switch to a feather wand.
post #10 of 21
Wow... are my cats the only ones that totally know where the dot comes from and that they can't catch it? They all recognize the laser pointer, realize that I'm moving the dot with the pointer in my hand, *and* that there's nothing there to catch... and they go nuts for it anyway. Momo, in fact, can recognize the sound of the keychain laser pointer from two rooms away in the midst of a sound sleep. They also know when we're done because they watch me put it away in it's drawer. Craziness.
post #11 of 21
Zek watches my hand when it disappears, particularly if he can hear the key chain. My parents' dog is also obsessed with the laser pointer and knows that we are the creators of the red dot--he always looks at us when it disappears. He still loves pouncing on the spot where it is and trying to dig his way at it.
post #12 of 21
My guy LOVES the laser pointer and will sit and stare at me in the mornings if he wants the pointer instead of the other toy I throw in the mix... gets all set when he hears me pick it up and is off at the click. He watches my hand so I'm pretty sure he's aware that he's essentially hitting nothing... I make sure I throw a ball or a sock with a knot in it when we're done so he catches something in the end, which probably gives him that satisfaction of a catch in the end.
post #13 of 21
just like all of you guyes ... my cats are crazy about the red dot .. and thought that it is a good excersize for them...
one of my cat realized that I am the one who is moving the pointer and I feel that he knows that he would never actually catch this red thing.... but he enjoys it ...he gets ready once he sees me holding the pointer as if he is saying ... HIT IT
post #14 of 21
Junior also goes nuts for the red dot. When he wants to play, he'll sit down at my feet and alternate looking at me and at the floor. Once I reach for the pointer he crouches and waits for the dot to appear. While playing, if he loses track of the dot and doesn't immediately find it, he'll look at my hand. Once I move my hand he'll look in the direction I moved it and relocate the dot.

His favorite activity is having me run the dot along the baseboard around the room. He'll crouch, wiggle his butt, then pounce on it when it comes near him. He also loves chasing it on and off furniture. After 5 or so minutes of play I'll switch to a wand toy and he'll chase that for some time before getting tired and laying down.

post #15 of 21
Mario just loves the laser pointer. He will literally play till your hand wears out. Our laser is part of a pen, all anyone has to do is touch that pen and he is ready to go. When the batteries wear down you can almost see him cry but as long as his stick is close by he will be kinda happy with it.

We tried the feather toys and he will simply rip the feathers out within a couple seconds so we do not get those for him anymore. We had to get a thick wooden dow rod and drill a hole in the end to place string through as Mario has broken everything that was bought from a store for him. He does go threw string alot as he will catch it and bite right threw it.

Koko likes the laser pointer but only to a point then he is done, as with most toys.
Sweety is still trying to get use to the idea of playing and toys, so far the only thing she likes is that ring on a milk carton. I know that is not the best toy for her we have tried many toys and she wont have anything to do with them.
post #16 of 21
I agree with the others to use it in conjunction with other toys that they can catch. It's easy to tell frustration.

We have friends who have a cat that literally goes CRAZY for the laser, and we have other friends who have a cat that is scared of it.

Summer and Chevy both like it in moderation. They will chase after it, but both seem to know where the source is and that they can't catch it. It's used sparingly and they love it everytime we use it!
post #17 of 21
Another thing I do is I'll point the laser at other toys laying about and Junior will pounce on them. I think that helps with frustration.

post #18 of 21
Sky and Sundance both love the laseo pointer I have. They will play forever with it. I try not to shine it in their eyes though.
post #19 of 21
My only word of caution (besides being careful over not shining it in their eyes) is to use it in moderation. The first time I used it w/ my furbabies, Geronimo got so worked up that he ended up having a serious panting/coughing spell, which scared the heck out of me! So now I use it sparingly, and w/ a combination of other toys - usually the feather wand; they just love that!!

Maverick & Gabriel really don't care too much about the laser pointer; but then again, they're both getting old, so therefore aren't as interested in playing as they once were...

post #20 of 21
I don't know about cats but I have heard dogs can become obsessed with looking for the red dot. Here are some articles about it.
post #21 of 21
I'd be really careful with laser pointers. My brother had one on his keychain and would play with my dog with it, and Juno would go crazy. He'd claw the floor, the walls and bark like mad if my brother shone it on the ceiling. It was quite humourous. But.. Juno got obsessed with it, and started barking whenever he'd see anything shine. If we'd open a cd case, and a reflection would come off the cd onto the wall, he'd bark his head off. He learned that the keys jingling meant the toy, and he'd go stock still staring at the ground for the light to show up. Our vet advised us to never do it again, so we haven't for 5 years, and he still stares at the floor when he hears keys jingling.

My aunt had a border collie who developed an obsession with light. She got so bad that she'd follow people, biting at their feet as she saw the light and shadow from each footfall. She'd chase shadows on the walls, and eventually she had to be surrendered to a border collie rescue for neurotic evaluation.

I myself won't get one to be a toy. I throw things for Sohni. He especially likes plastic bottle tops thrown on the laminate floor. He pust his claws out and goes floor surfing.
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