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Laser pointer safe for cats?

Species: Cat
Breed: abysinian
Age: 2-5 years
My Abby is thrilled with the new toy that I purchased for her, a laser pointer. She cannot wait for me to take it out and play with her. However, when I put it away she spends the next 15 or 20 minutes looking for the red dot all over the room. Is she going to get frustrated or develop some sort of phobia by this activity. I feel guilty looking at her looking for it. Thanks for your time. Harvey


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

This is a great question!

I know that my cats really love playing with a laser pointer. I don't know why it can hold their attention so well! And yes, after it is gone, they will walk around the house for a few minutes looking furtively in every direction trying to get a glimpse of the little red dot.

In almost every case, I have no problem with a cat playing with a laser pointer. I think it is a good way to give your cat some exercise.

However, we have had one case in my clinic (not my case, by a colleague's) where a cat had psychiatric issues because of the laser pointer. This cat would walk around the house 24 hours a day looking for the thing. She was extremely stressed and anxious all of the time. This cat ended up needing to go on a medication similar to Prozac to help her mental state.

Now, this is extreme, and I really don't blame the laser pointer. Rather, I think this cat likely had some underlying mental issues to start with.

So, I would say to use your judgement. If Abby seems to enjoy the games you play with the pointer then keep it up. But if your gut is telling you that she is getting too obsessed you may need to cut back on her pointer time.

Hope that helps!

Dr. Marie.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi there...I just saw your feedback that you had asked a followup question that wasn't answered. I don't see another question here. To ask a followup question, you need to access the question via the link that you got by email and you should see a "reply" button.

Thanks!



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.