Play Thearapy for Cats:
Laser Pointer Fun
Havng spent a lot of time with cats in shelters, having 7 cats of my own, and 2 "step cats" of sorts (my mother's cats who I visit on a weekly basis!), I'm qualified to say I have a lot of expereince with a lot of cats!
And one of the many things I've discovered along the way is a fool-proof way to entertain almost any cat. Its done using the red dot of light from a laser pointer and its the all time favorite game of the typical cat.
Nothing gets a cat as excited, or gives them as much fun, as tearing around a room, chasing that little red dot of light. Its also a sure way to tucker out a cat who has excess energy to burn off, and a great way to quickly bond with a feline companion.
In fact, I've witnesed numerous instances where shelter cats who had been abandoned by their families and were severly depressed for extended periods of time literally came back to life after a single round of laser pointer (otherwise known as "chase the dot"!). I've seen cats in shelters who were scared and withdrawn, and then became engaged and playful - sometimes quite to the amazement of shelter staff - when given the opportunity to "chase the dot".
This is one game that apparently has a thearapeutic effect on cats, aside from being a whole lotta fun for both cat and human companion.
A terrific way to get your cat to play himself out - which takes almost zero energy on your part - is to get a laser pointer that shines a little red dot on the floor, and let him have his fun tearing around the room chasing after it as you shine it for him. Cats LOVE this! And its great for you if you're feeling lazy but would like to give him a good workout and let him tire himself out (while indulging his need for fun), because you can just sit on the couch, while he tears around the room. You'll both have a great time!
Its important to get the technique just right to allow both you and your cat to get the most out of the laser pointer game. You need to use just the right touch. You want to avoid moving the laser dot very erratically. And dont move it so quickly that it become a blur. You also dont want to move it so slow that the cat isn't challenged.
The key is to simulate the type of movement a cat would see in a mouse. A mouse moves quickly, yet smoothly. Quickly, yet not so quickly that it is impossible to catch. Keep the dot always just a little out of reach of your cat, and try to move it in long expanses across the room if space will allow to allow your cat companion to pick up some speed and get a good run in the process.
After you've tried a few times, following these tips, you'll get the hang of it.
Watching your cat chase that little red light provides endless entertainment for all involved. Some cats seem to realize it's a game, while others are simply baffled they can't catch the elusive red pest.
WARNING: Never aim the laser light into the cat's eyes. Always supervise children whenusng a laser pointer to play with cats. The light of a laser pointer can cause serious injury if shone into the cat's eyes.
TIP: The laser pointer toys are just $4.95 from the The Animal Rescue Site. This is a GREAT deal because similar laser pointers in office supply stores sell for $25 - $30 each. Better still, when you purchase anything from the site you are helping to feed homeless cats in shelters. Corporate sponsors donate food to shelters every time an item is purchased. For instance, for each laser pointer cat toy you buy, The Animal Rescue Site will fund 14 bowls of food to cats in shelters. Just type Laser Pointer Cat Toy into the search box when you get to the site.
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Masthead Photo Credit: Neil Strassberg