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Why Do Cats Chase Lasers?

Oh the eternal battle between cat and laser pointer. If you're a cat person then you know exactly what we’re talking about. But why do cats chase lasers? And Is it good for them?

The Hunt

Lasers are stimulating to cats because they mimic fast-moving prey. Just because your kitty does not have to work very hard for its own food (unless you count how many times they meow at you until you fill up their food bowl), it doesn’t mean their prey instinct or prey drive isn’t hardwired.


Is Laser Chasing A Good Kitty Cat Hobby?

It may be surprising to hear that there's some controversy over whether it's a good idea to tempt your furry feline friend with lasers. The biggest complaint that anti-laser cat enthusiasts have is that chasing a laser is a form of teasing.


The laser is an unattainable target, and however good your cat's hunting abilities are it's not going to be able eat it and therefore it cannot finish out the predatory cycle. To help make laser pointers less of a tease, give your kitty a treat or a physical toy right when you're finished playing with the laser. That way it'll get the satisfaction of a ”kill".


Laser Sights

Cats chase lasers because it “looks” appealing. Cats have eyes that are set up to make them experts at picking up even the smallest of movements. The instant that you turn a laser on, your cat is going to pick it up in its peripheral vision. If they haven't quite figured out yet that they can not actually eat that red dot (or even if it knows it can’t but doesn't care) then that's all it takes to begin its predatory cycle.


Laser Pointer Safety

Provided that your cat seems to actually enjoy chasing a laser and isn't just caught in an infinite loop of hunt-pounce-disappointment, there's probably nothing to be worried about. Possessing a laser is a fantastic way for your cat to find some physical and mental exercise, and also allows them to tap into their kitty instincts. Of course, you still need to make sure that you follow safety recommendations to avoid harming your cat during drama.


Don't shine the light right on your cat's eyes. Even toy lasers emit an incredibly bright light. If you do, it might lead to vision issues and/or eye injuries. If you think that there may be some damage from accidentally shinning a laser into their eye contact your urgent care vet or emergency vet. They can do an eye exam and see if there is anything to worry about.


With all the excitement and pouncing around during the laser hunt it is possible for your cat to injure itself. Now this doesn't mean don't use the laser for play time with your furry feline. It just means that accidents can happen. If it does contact your urgent care vet or emergency vet and bring your pet in to be examined.


Give your cat plenty of other toys. When the laser is your cat's sole outlet for play, it's more likely to get frustrated. Be certain it has access to plenty of different objects for hunting and playing with, including catnip toys and wands.


Making sure that your cat is physically and mentally stimulated is a great thing. So if you have a laser that your kitty cat chases around and seems to enjoy keep on doing it, safely of course. And in the event of a “sports” injury, as your urgent care vet and emergency vet, we are always here.

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