Cat toy with precautionary measures
Opinions differ greatly with regard to whether laser pointers make suitable cat toys. In the following article, we will outline a few aspects that allow you to weigh up the pros and cons and to make your own decision concerning your beloved cat.
What are the dangers of laser pointers as cat toys?
When it comes to playing with the laser pointer, only the sense of sight is required. In contrast to most other cat toys, the senses of smell, touch and hearing aren't used whatsoever. However, it is extremely important to address these senses too, in particular because they represent the conditions that cats experience in the wild.
In principle, all toys and housing conditions that best imitate circumstances in the the cat's natural environment are preferable, since this is the only way your cat can live a species-appropriate and thereby happy life.
Since playing with the laser pointer does not lead to a sense or achievement or success like in a hunt when the cat can slay its prey at the end of the game, it potentially feels frustrated and consequently may react in a highly strung manner. This may come to the fore with the cat not being able to switch off following the game and continuing to search the floor nervously for the moving red dot.
In addition, the focused laser beam damages the eyes, so you should definitely not look directly at the beam and above all not allow your cat to do so, since its eyes are far more sensitive than those of humans. For this reason, cats can also see well at night.
You should be aware that the laser pointer can cause damage to your cat's sensitive eyes in particular even from reflective surfaces like floor coverings such as laminate etc. In the worst case scenario, this can lead to blindness and trigger high veterinary costs.
Only cat owners who are very conscious of how to deal with a laser pointer should use one to keep their cat entertained. Otherwise, the danger would be too great of the cat or even the human being at risk of irreparable eye damage in the worst case scenario.
What are the advantages of the laser pointer as a cat toy?
If you can use the laser pointer in a conscious and controlled manner for a limited time, this vivid light toy can be fascinating and prove great fun for your feline housemate. However, some cats have no liking for toys with a deceptive hunting experience.
Laser pointers are really fun for playful cats, although as we have already emphasised, the owner must pay particular attention to ensure that the laser beam targets neither their own nor the cat's eyes, especially because cats have much more sensitive eyes than humans.
A torch can offer a similar playful impulse for your cat without the risks of the laser. Balls, cat fishing rods and the like also make fun games and unlike chasing a point of light, the cat has the feeling of success of truly “slaying” its prey – like in the wild. This sense of achievement is entirely lacking when chasing the tip of a laser pointer.
However, it is important to transmit to your cat the sense of achievement of slaying prey. Since cats cannot catch imaginary prey in the form of the tip of a laser pointer, it's a possibility to reward them with a treat as an alternative.
It's also recommended to use the tip of the laser pointer towards the end of a chase on a suitable red object like a cat cushion that the cat can pounce upon instead of the tip of the laser, allowing it to experience a feeling of success comparable to hunting the wild. In this way, the cat can also release the energy it has built up from the wild chase.
How do I handle the potential dangers of laser pointers?
Bear in mind that you should absolutely not shine the device directly into the eyes of your beloved cat. Although the cat generally looks at the floor in order to search for the point and not at the device, caution and attentive handling of the device are advised nevertheless.
Begin simply by aiming the pointer at the ground so the cat doesn't mistakenly look at the pointer instead of the red dot on the ground. As soon as the cat has the point in it sights, the owner can relax and keep their beloved feline companion entertained from the comfort of the sofa, for instance.
On the other hand, exercise obviously does both the cat and its owner good. In this respect, this is an aspect of the laser pointer that could be criticised: it is a convenience product that primarily focuses on the interests of the owner. In addition, the experience that the laser pointer offers is a long way from the hunting experiences cats can have in the great outdoors.
Are there laser pointers that aren't dangerous?
All laser pointers in the Zooplus selection are tested and classed as harmless. The eyes are not damaged by the device according to the manufacturer's indications, even if they may briefly come into contact with it. The low radiation reduces the danger of ocular injuries.
Nevertheless, the user should always envision the fundamental risk and be very cautious when handling the laser pointer. After all, the laser beams are made up of strongly focused light.
In contrast, you should definitely avoid buying a laser device of dubious origin or from unscrupulous providers, especially from overseas or auction platforms, because it may not meet the standard and the limits are at times around a hundred times stronger than the permitted value.
Cat experts agree that laser pointers with random generators are definitely not advisable. Based on the principle of chance, these spread strongly focused light through the room and pose an incalculable risk for the eyes of cats (and humans).
What other toys are suitable (or more so) for my cat?
A torch could offer a similar playful stimulant for cats without the risks of the laser. Balls, cat fishing rods and the like also make for fun games and unlike chasing a dot of light, the cat has the feeling of success of truly “slaying” its prey – like in the wild. This sense of achievement is unfortunately entirely lacking when chasing the tip of a laser pointer.
With play fishing rods or similar cat toys, the cat has the sense of achievement of “slaying” its prey, so to speak. Cats need the rewarding feeling of “You did that well – you're an expert hunter!” for their emotional harmony. In addition, this is closer to real hunting conditions in the wild and unlike the laser pointer, poses no comparable risks to feline health.