Cat laser pointer: good or bad idea?


Among the toys recommended to entertain your cat is the laser pointer. Some think that its use is dangerous, while others only see it as positive. As so often, the reality is halfway between the two extremes.

So yes, the cat laser pointer is a good idea, provided you choose it well and know how to use it. We explain to you…

The laser pointer for cat, what are its disadvantages?

The danger of lasers on the eyesight and skin of cats is unfounded

Laser technology is over 60 years old and is now widely proven. It represents a considerable advance used in many fields: medicine (probe, surgery, ophthalmology), industry (cutting, welding), business (bar code reader, printer), entertainment (lighting, toys).

In short, this technology is used daily by humans and the potential dangers are known. All the necessary measures to protect against their harmful effects are therefore taken, which makes the laser a safe and non-invasive element.

However, powerful lasers can cause damage to eyesight, leading to blindness, and to skin, leading to skin lesions. This is one of the reasons why they are decried as cat toys. However, this misconception does not exist, because laser pointers for cats are low power.

Indeed, because laser pointers intended for recreational activities, both for humans and animals, are class 1 or 2:

  • Class 1: these lasers are safe during use, they can at most produce a dazzling effect of short duration when their radiating beam is visible and used in the dark,
  • Class 2: these lasers emit visible radiation of low intensity, between 400 and 700 nm, only prolonged, intentional exposure and released in front of the eyes can cause deleterious effects,
  • Class 3 and 4: these lasers are dangerous for the eyes and the skin, cause inflammation or even create a fire.

Therefore, we understand that the only precaution to take to expose your cat to laser safely, is to avoid pointing your eyes in a sustained way. The hazard class of the laser must appear on the packaging, and “toy lasers” sold in pet stores are class 2.

Using a laser pointer can lead to cat frustration

When the cat has a hunting behavior, it usually has a “real prey” to fall back on. It can be a small mammal (mouse, shrew), a bird (sparrow, robin), an insect (fly, grasshopper), a reptile (lizard, slow worm). All these animals are alive and tangible for your cat.

If he catches it, he’s satisfied his instincts. But if the bird flies away before he could catch it, for example, the cat understands that the latter has escaped. With a laser, it’s different, the cat is really “on it” but can’t catch it and doesn’t understand that it comes back again and again.

However, you may have already noticed your cat’s “craze” when it chases unseen prey due to lack of activity or to release stress. It is therefore normal behavior for your feline, but very punctual.

As a result, it’s true that using a laser pointer can be frustrating for your cat. But used wisely, for just a few minutes per session, your cat can become addicted and love their laser toy. You can also put an end to the frustration by linking the play session with a laser pointer with a play session with a physical toy (feather duster, fishing rod, ball, sisal mouse, etc.). And for the greediest cats, you can reward them with a treat.

The laser pointer for cat, what are its advantages?

As we have seen previously, the laser pointer for cats does not represent any danger for your companion, if used wisely. Sessions of a few minutes, without direct pointing in the eyes, are therefore sufficient. Your companion can love this toy, as well as abandon it, each cat being unique.

In addition, the use of the laser pointer has the advantage of developing your cat’s sight, the only sense used for this game. He will therefore have to concentrate to reach the laser and virtually catch his prey. In this sense, the laser partially satisfies his hunting instinct.

In addition, you are the one animating the laser pointer, so it is an excellent physical exercise, particularly recommended for indoor cats who have few activities. In addition, like any other toy used with its master, the laser pointer strengthens the bond between you and your cat.

You still have a doubt and want an alternative to the laser pointer to play with your mustachioed friend? Use a flashlight in a dimly lit room, success is guaranteed!