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Cats, Dogs, & Laser Toys

 

Laser Pointer: image via XKCD.com/729/Laser Pointer: image via XKCD.com/729/

 

I've written a lot of blogs about pet toys, including one I update every couple of years called the 19+ Best Interactive Pet Gifts, but I don't write a lot about laser toys.  There's a reason for that, and with the holidays soon upon us, I want to share my thoughts about buying laser toys as pet gifts.

My concern has been growing over the last few years, as every pet toy manufacturer seems to want to get higher search value for 'interactive' pet toys.  I love interactive pet toys because they tend to be more challenging and/or more fun for your pet.  But you must always be present while your pet is at play with a toy that could, if your pet gets too carried away, harm him.

Nowhere is this threat more serious than with laser toys, as they can, no matter what toy manufacturers say about the laser strength of their own toys (which is rarely disclosed), cause serious damage to your pet's retinas, and may even cause blindness, if your pet stares into the source of the laser light for too long.  Too long, unfortunately, is an unspecified amount of time.

My dogs have never been turned on much by laser lights.  They like things that smell bad or squeak obnoxiously.  And dogs never seem to care where the laser beam is coming from anyway.  But cats are quite another story.  Cats always want to see where that light is coming from... eventually.  

When cats (or dogs!) look into a laser beam, they don't know it's bad for them.  Once they get the fact that the little red spot they've been chasing originates from a beam machine, that's what they will watch. 

This is why it is important that laser play is not "interactive," as the new meaning of the term implies; i.e., this is something that will entertain the cat, while you go and write your blog.

No, you can't.

 

Loco! Laser by Smarty Cat: It's an interactive laser toy that YOU control.Loco! Laser by Smarty Cat: It's an interactive laser toy that YOU control.

 

There are plenty of small, hand-held laser lights that will delight your cat, such as this Loco! Laser, a mouse-shaped little guy that fits into your hand because you are the one that directs it.  And when you see your cat looking for the source of the laser beam, after you've been bouncing it up and down the wall for awhile, you can turn the laser off, or point it away from the cat.  Redirect his attention to a distant point and then surreptitiously shine it again from behind your arm or your leg or your hip. 

Laser toys are great toys and make great gifts for cat owners, if they know how to use them responsibly.  Don't give anyone the opportunity to use one irresponsibly. 


That's the buzz for today!