Why do cats chase laser pointers? Well, cats and laser pointers go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Surely you’ve pointer a laser in front of a cat watched the antics ensue. If you aren’t familiar, cats will chase laser pointers to the end of the earth. It could be going back and forth and they’ll be mesmerized by this little dot. A smallest of dots, yet their attention is captured.
While it’s fun to watch and only adds to the cuteness that is your cat, have you ever wondered why they go crazy for this light? Prepare to have your mind blown, because Catonsville Cat Clinic has the reason behind the madness!
Cats Chase Laser Pointers Because their Eye Structure is Different
In a comparison between our eyes and cats’ eyes, you’ll find a completely different core. It deals with the retina (where light is converted into nerve impulses).
The two important terms here are cones and rods, which are the two different types of retinal structures.
- Cones translate color vision.
- Rods deal with detection and vision under low light.
We humans tend to have a higher amount of cones in comparison to rods. Meanwhile, cats have a larger amount of rods in comparison to cones.
“Well, what does that tell me about why cats chase laser pointers?”
Great question! It means that our cats are incredibly adept at picking up movement, even if it is dark. So, when you’re flashing your laser pointer around, they’ll instantly pick it up in their peripheral view. Not only that, but the brightness of the laser is a sharp contrast against their default dark background, making it stand out against everything else.
“Okay, well why do they chase it then?”
Yet again, another incredible question. The answer has to do with their predatory predisposition…
Your cat is a predator at heart
Your cat is chasing the laser because it taps into their predatory instincts. Cats are naturally designed to stalk, pounce, kill, and eat their prey. By moving the laser around the room, they feel compelled to chase after it.
However, they don’t actually get to feast on their prey, considering this is most likely taking place in your house and it’s a laser. So, it’s always important to remember that, just like every human is different and unique, the same goes for cats. While you might see a cat that can chase it forever, yours may not.
Some become irritated because they can never finish their predatory sequence. If that’s the case, there are alternative games and toys that can fulfill such a thing.
That being said, if your cat is enjoying the laser, it’s a great way to keep them active (for the appropriate amount of time).