All cat parents are familiar with the eternal struggle between the cat and the laser pointer. For something so small and unscented, that little red sure spot can keep cats busy, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that they can never really catch it. Interestingly though, there is some debate about whether or not laser pointers are a great toy for our feline friends. So why do cats hunt lasers, and is it time to abandon the laser in favor of another type of toy?
1. The look of the laser
Lasers are intrinsically stimulating for cats because of what they represent: fast-moving prey. Just because your cat doesn’t have to work hard for her food (unless you count all the effort it takes to meow all morning until you fill her bowl), doesn’t mean she’s not wired for work.
Like the point of a laser dart around the room, your cat interprets it as a small animal trying to run and hide. As such, certain inherent feline behaviors come out, including an innate desire to hunt, pounce, and kill the prey in question. The fact that this is simply a projection doesn’t matter much because your cat is operating on autopilot, not intellect.