Cats and Laser Pointers: A Scientifically-Based Love Affair

Posted by TF Oren
Flickr/Haley Bouchard

Cat owners are no strangers to the magic that happens when you introduce your feline friend to a laser pointer.

But did you know there’s some science behind your cat’s obsession with that hypnotic red beam?

According to Tufts University animal behavior specialist, Dr. Stephanie Borns-Weil, the movement of a laser pointer “simulates the movement of prey, so it attracts the cat’s attention and gets the cat to chase and pounce on it.”

While humans can just glance at a laser pointer and see it’s nothing more than a beam of light, cats don’t process its insignificance quite as quickly. This is, in part, because their eyes don’t register the color red, so they see the light as either white or yellow. The common assumption is that the color of the light is at the root of cats’ interest in laser pointers when in reality, the color of the light has nothing to do with their obsession.

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Rather, cats see the light as prey and react to it like the predators they are. Not only is it amusing, it’s also good exercise. Keeping your cats at a healthy weight is crucial to their overall wellbeing. So, by all means, shine on.

The take-home? A laser pointer is entertainment for you, and physical and mental stimulation for your cat. Win-win.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section!

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Cats and Laser Pointers: A Scientifically-Based Love Affair