This is an article by the AVMA about compulsive disorders in cats. It even mentions laser pointers and cats http://www.avma.org/press/releases/0...lsive_pets.asp
This was posted on another web site: http://www.kittencare.com/askKC_Quic...#laser_pointer
Our kitten loves to follow the moving red dot from the laser pointer. Are these safe around cats?
You are right in being concerned. While many folks are unaware, these laser pointers can be dangerous to your cat. Try using a flashlight instead, cats love these in the dark or dim light. Many stores have ones that carry red, blue, green lenses. This way, you can have your colored fun without the laser danger. Simba
This is from yet another site (list good and bad toys): http://videoforcats.com/cattoys.htm
Cats love chasing a light beam across the floor of a darkened room. A pen light works great. Really, any small flash light with a focusing beam of light works well. Even a reflection on the floor from another light source. Cats will chase all over the place. For people using a laser pointer as a light source, BEWARE, a laser pointer is a very powerful source of light and can do tremendous damage to a cats very sensitive eye. Cats eyes amplify light for night viewing, so the laser is much more powerful to them. Even the laser reflection off shinny floor tile can cause eye damage. Lasers should not be used for cat toys. Do not let children use laser pointers to play with your cat! Children do NOT understand what "Forever" means when it comes to permanent damage to your cats vision. It only takes a direct hit on the eye for a second or two and permanent damage WILL occur. Don't chance it!
I know it sounds strange but I have heard some real horror stories about laser pointers. Just because something is popular (even with vets) does not mean it's not dangerous! -kd