Cats appear to enjoy chasing the laser beam but are they really having fun.
Playtime for cats is a learning experience as well as fun. Mother cats play with their kittens to teach them to hunt, exercise their muscles and give them mental stimulation. Kittens also learn when they’ve crossed boundaries and how to socialize properly.
But playtime can’t always be a losing game. Cats need to be successful catching their prey (toy) so that they don’t feel constantly frustrated. Laser pointer when used appropriately, can give a cat a sense of success.
Instead of just pointing the laser beam randomly, place the cat’s toys in the area you’re going to use the laser. Keep some of your cat’s favorite treats handy. Zigzag the laser in front of the cat, gradually moving it towards one of the toys. Then point the laser on the toy and when the cat pounces on it, offer a treat. Continue doing this with the other toys for the length of the play session. Make the cat’s “last catch” the end of play and reward with a treat.
Encourage play with other toys as well. Dangling toys on sticks are interesting to cats. Tossing soft toys allows a cat to use all his/her instincts – chasing, stalking and pouncing. And it’s fun for you to watch as your cat goes on the “hunt.”