Are Laser Pointers Good, Safe Toys For Cats? Or Are They Bad? (Plus The Best Laser Pointers For Cats If You Choose To Use One)

Watching your cat play and goof around is fun, especially if it’s trying to catch a moving laser dot. Laser pointers aren’t new on the market and since cats are crazy about them, most feline pet parents out there have tried them out at least once.

Many pet supply manufacturers even produce laser pointers as cat toys. But over the past few years lasers have become the subjects of controversy. Are they safe for cats? What risks to they pose? And are they an overall good toy for your precious feline furball?

We’ll let you answer the last question for yourself, but firstly, let’s go over the pros and cons of using laser pointers as toys for cats.

Pros of laser pointers

This might sound surprising, but laser pointers actually have a number of advantages for cats, beyond pure entertainment.

Physical Exercise

Physical exercise is of fundamental importance for every breed. Some cats, such as the American Shorthair, are more prone to becoming obese than others and need extra activities. Others are simply too bored to bother exercising.

And even though the scratching post does provide some options, the laser pointer is the best form of physical exercise for your furball. The fact that it can never truly catch the laser dot will make it jump, twirl, and run around like crazy!

Stimulation On A Mental Level

Felines are among nature’s best hunters. Their inborn hunting instincts remain in place even when cats are kept strictly indoors and can’t hunt their prey or work for their food on a daily basis. Laser pointers stimulate these hunting instincts.

Bonding

Your kitty can play on its own, but nothing will substitute for a nice play session in which you’re involved too. Playing together offers a chance for proper bonding with your pet, regardless of the type of toy you’re using.

And yes, that goes for laser pointers. Even though the cat’s senses will be occupied with the moving dot, it still knows that you’re there, paying attention to it. Moreover, laser pointers are the purr-fect toy for those afternoons when you’re too lazy to play with your pet more actively.

Easy To Play With

Unlike puzzle games, tunnels, fluffy cat wands, or playing fetch – yes, you can teach your cat tricks and even how to play fetch – the laser pointer is actually quite easy to play with.

In fact, it’s so easy and entertaining that some interactive pet cameras like Petcube have built-in laser chaser games to keep your feline pal occupied while you’re away from home.

Cons Of Laser Pointers

Now that you’ve learned the basic advantages of using laser pointers when playing with a cat, let’s focus on their downsides.

Harmful For Eyesight

A feline’s eyes are just one of the many things that make cats such notorious hunters. Their eyes are far more sensitive to light than the human eye is. As such, laser beams can do harm when pointed directly into them.

Most manufacturers focusing on pet supplies use mild lasers of up to 5 milliwatts. These are perfectly safe for your cat, even if you happen to accidentally point them towards its eyes.

Unfortunately, not all lasers are safe for a kitty’s eyesight. Before you purchase one, check the label to make sure it’s pet-friendly.

Lack Of Satisfaction

For a feline furball, the hunt itself is satisfactory on a high level, but it’s not enough to make the kitty fully elated. The satisfaction of catching the prey is what truly makes a cat feel like it’s fulfilled its duties.

Sadly, kitties can’t get that from chasing a laser dot. And after a while the cat will become frustrated and anxious, which leads us to the next problem.

Trigger Anxiety And Bad Behavior

Laser pointers can eventually trigger severe anxiety, which may result in problematic behavior. The lack of result from chasing the dot can make the cat take out its frustration on carpets, couches, and other furniture pieces. It may even make the feline attack its pet parent.

Are Laser Pointers Safe And Good Or Bad For Your Cat?

Every kitten, adult, and senior cat out there needs to be entertained and well-exercised. Laser pointers can achieve these two goals. Regardless of the laser’s disadvantages, there are ways to make it work for you and your beloved furball.

As long as you get a pet-safe laser and you don’t fool around with it until the cat goes crazy, it will be an excellent toy. Just remember to finish the games by parking the dot on a toy, treat, or something else which the cat will be capable of really catching.

You can also opt for giving some tasty treats to your furball and praising it physically and verbally for its “hunting” session. This will help with any lingering anxiety or dissatisfaction.

Best Laser Pointer Toy For Your Cat

Alright, if you do decide that laser pointers are worth it for your kitty (and please make sure to reward him or her with treats when it’s caught), then this is probably your best bet.

Innozon Laser Pointer Chaser Toys for Cats

This is a super sleek set of laser pointers that your kitty will love.

It takes just one AAA battery, and the on/off switch is a slider, which means it’ll stay on without you having to hold the button the whole time.

This was my favorite part, because if you’re playing for a decent amount of time, it gets tiring holding down the button.

It works, it’s easy to use, it even looks pretty cool.

There are others like it, but for the combination of price, value (you get two laser pointers), ease of use…this is the top pick we can recommend.

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Emily Parker
 

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!

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Natalie - October 12, 2017

I had no idea that only some lasers are safe for cats! Good to know. My cat loves chasing the one we use. I like the idea of ending on a toy that the cat can actually catch. Maybe that’s why my cat loves attacking the couch, haha.

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