Laser pointers and cats

A friend gave me a laser pointer recently, and as I have six cats, I was thinking-play time!

However, I do have a question-is it really safe to tease them with it? I know you should NEVER shine it directly in their eyes, or your own, for that matter, but are there any other dangers? Just checking. I’m so looking forward to tormenting the little bastards.

Mine love theirs so much I have to hide it. I am careful not to shine it in their eyes. I have gotten a few of them six feet up the wall with it! Bill the Cat seems to be the only one who connects it with me. When I turn it off, the others look for the little red dot, while he turns around and looks at me.

When I had a working laser pointer, my cats would go crazy just hearing the jingle of the key ring attached to it.

I never had to worry about hitting their eyes. They were always focused on where the beam was hitting, not where it was coming from.

I did notice once that after about a 2-minute workout, my kitten was panting like a dog. :smiley:

I would avoid using it to cause an cute, energetic young cat to collide with a cranky middle-aged furball.

Other than that it’s a lot of fun.

They also work on puppies. Puppies who occasionally have wild spurts of energy at 10:30 PM or so, despite being walked and played with.

Such as what? It won’t set their fur on fire, if that’s what you’re thinking.

Our two cats are either smarter or dumber than the average. They played with it for about 10 minutes, then said “to hell with it” and ignored it thereafter. So it goes.

Yeah, my energetic, playful cat that can spend hours playing with the ring from a milk jug, loses interest in the laser pointer pretty quick. Or starts watching the pointer in my hand rather than the dot on the floor.

All of our cats figured out that my pointer was ther source of the light pretty quickly. Even if I have not teased them for several months, the sound of that particular keychain will bring them running from all around the house. If I stop shining it too soon, they will start looking at my hand, jumping up on a chair to see where the light has gone.

OTOH, my brother has a cat that simply cannot be bothered. It sniffed at the dot a couple of times when my brother first tried it, then wandered off to find something interesting to do.

Aside from shining it in a cat’s eyes, I cannot think of anything dangerous about them. (If you race the dot out over the end of the second floor balcony, the cat should be smart enough to stop and go down by way of the stairs.)

Or, you could get a cat like ours, who after her first experience with a laser pointer became obsessed with reflections. A common problem in dog breeds, often found in herding dogs… but no-one ever told this cat that she isn’t canine.

You also need to worry if you are incurring any legal problem over patent 5,443,036.

When was that patent filed? If recently, I’m sure we can find some prior art to invaldidate it.

All but one of mine chase the pretty dot. The dissenting cat plays with the actual pointer itself, but has no use for the dot.

Mine much prefer the green over the red: I suspect that it is more a matter of brightness than color.

The issue with not hitting their eyes is that lased light presents a potential hazard with respect to the retina itself.

filed: 11-02-1993
issued: 08-22-1995

Here’s Fig. 1 from the patent. Probably one of the more amateurish patent drawings I’ve hade the pleasure of looking at.

I used to use mine exclusively in the living room, and often shone it on the ceiling. The one cat that went bat-shit crazy over it used to think that it “lived” in there. Occasionaly, he’d scan the ceiling to see if it was around even if we hadn’t had it out that day.

Nowhere near as amateurish as the damn fool employee in the Patent Office who issued a patent for this!

Hmm. You suppose if I talked to the right person, I could get a patent on cats themselves? I’d be rich! Rich, I tell you! Bwahahaha!

It will if you buy one of these! :evil grin:

Especially with the green, I expect, because green laser pointers typically have a higher power/intensity rating, plus their wavelength is right in the middle of the range to which human (and probably most other mammalian) eyes are most sensitive.

Other novel uses for laser pointers (being careful of eyes, just as you would with a cat, of course); I visited the sealife centre with my kids; the otters were all staying in the corner of their enclosure furthest from us, so I enticed one over wit the dot from my laser pointer. Also works with the fish in the aquarium. I expect it would have got me thrown out of the place, if the staff had noticed.