Video of cat chasing laser pointer light is great but it shows us its limitations

Laser pointers are limited
Laser pointers are limited. Screenshot.
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This is a nice little video of a domestic cat chasing a laser pointer light on a white wall. Laser pointers ‘activate’ (if that is the right word) domestic cats. They activate the hunt/chase instinct. In Jackson Galaxy cat language they are engine cranks to get the domestic cat’s hunting mechanism started. He’s referring to the old engine cranks used to turnover the engines of Model T Fords to start them.

The reason why he refers to the laser pointer in this way is because although they are good tools in one aspect, they are limited because there is no endgame. A cat cannot kill a laser pointer light flicking around a white wall. It’s an endless chase, a predatory tease with no biting, no killing, no scratching and no successful completion of the hunt from the standpoint of the domestic cat.

Therefore it is recommended that once you’ve cranked up the domestic cat’s hunt/play engine and got her excited you should move to a different toy which can be destroyed. It seems that it is quite important for a cat toy to be manufactured in such a way that can be “killed”. In other words the cat needs to see the destruction of the toy to mimic a kill. This will be satisfying for your cat.

If your cat can become so involved with play that he ends up protecting his kill from you and growling at the same time then, as I mentioned in a previous article, and as referred to by Jackson Galaxy, this is the Holy Grail of cat play as it genuinely recreates natural behavior in the wild.

To get as near to that as possible is the aim of playing with your cat. In order to achieve this the owner has to show some commitment and this is where I see difficulties. I really do believe that very few cat owners spend enough time, in a committed way, playing with their cat. The problem is that it is boring for the owner and the exact opposite for their cat. You have to do it for 15 minutes, the experts say. This can seem like quite a long time when you’re bored and you want to do something else. I’m not advocating that you have this attitude. I merely being realistic and I believe truthful.

As cat owners, most of us (I include myself of course) need to be more committed to doing our best to improve our cat companion’s lives through better play and better environments.

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