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Recently, while doing some research on whether or not it’s OK to use laser pointers when playing with dogs (not really, it turns out), I learned that many animal behavior experts are now recommending that they be used with caution when playing with cats as well.
Basically, the red dot stimulates our pets’ hunting drive, but the inability to ever be able to “catch” the prey can result in frustration, leading to obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
The following article has some tips for how to safely incorporate a laser pointer into your cat’s play routine (summary below link):
Guidelines for Laser Pointer Playtime
- Please don’t let the laser pointer become your cat’s only toy. You need a range of toys, such as wand toys, that your cat can paw at and capture.
- During playtime, have on hand some stuffed cat toys that your cat can easily grab or paw. You might even put a little food in some of the toys for kitty to retrieve as a reward.
- Once in a while, let the red dot of the laser land on one of these other toys and watch your kitty “capture” it. Be sure she has a firm hold on the toy before you take the light away.
- Never shine the light directly into your cat’s eyes. You can cause serious damage to your pet’s eyes by doing this!