All of our future pet parents receive a list of what to buy for their kittens. Many question why we do not include laser toys. This came across my computer this morning and it explains far better than I ever have!
Online Cat Store
Monday, January 30, 2017
Are Laser Pointers Actually Good Cat Toys?
I discourage people from using laser pointers to play with cats. There are so many other exciting toys to use. Nevertheless, there are situations when laser pointers are the only way cats can be played with. It is either laser play or no play.
The importance of play
In addition to being a recreational activity for cats and their people, play is serious business. Kittens learn important hunting and problem-solving skills, and adult cats fine-tune their predatory prowess. Play teaches cats bite inhibition and helps them develop coordination. Cats and kittens learn boundaries and social skills while building relationships. Play also helps develop muscles and keeps cats fit and at the top of their game. It is also mentally stimulating.
Neurotransmitters, including dopamine, play a very important role as well. During different phases of play, dopamine, associated with award-driven behaviors, is released in the brain. Although the acts of stalking, ambushing and chasing are intrinsically rewarding, cats need to have the satisfaction of catching prey and feeling their hard-earned prizes beneath their paws.
The problems with laser play
It’s not news that lasers are hazardous. Shining laser beams into eyes — human as well as feline can cause permanent eye damage. Recent news reports highlight the dangers of laser pointers aimed at helicopters and airplanes. Yet the problems with laser pointers are not limited to eyes and aircraft.
People typically play with cats using laser pointers in a way that frustrates and teases cats. Laser players usually point and dance the beams randomly on the floors and walls for their cats to chase. Certain of a successful catch, they pounce only to find there is nothing under their paws. The bright red dot disappears, or it lingers on the wall or settles for an instant on a paw. Cats are left frustrated, without the opportunity to feel the tactile sensation of their hard-earned prey. Felines need to have the satisfaction of the hunt — to catch and feel their prey beneath their paws.
The best play techniques
Ideal play technique mimics hunting — but without casualties. These “best play practices” encourage cats to stalk, chase, pounce, and finally catch their prize. In nature, felines do not catch their dinner at every attempt, but they ultimately do succeed.
The best toys to use for this type of play are pole-type toys. Pulling the toy away from the cat using quick starts, stops, and stutters imitates the movements of prey. Mimicking prey, the toy does not move toward the cat. In real life, prey, unless it is impaired, does not run back toward the predator. Pole-type toys should be available to cats only when there is someone around to supervise the activity.
Good play techniques involve encouraging kitties to catch the toy so that they do not become discouraged and frustrated. Immediately after the last catch of the session, their favorite people should feed their little hunters sumptuous meals.
Not everyone can drag toys around for cats to chase or to play fetch with them. Like Mary Beth, many people are unable to run around their homes pulling a pole toy or retrieving thrown toys. Sometimes there are only two choices — using the laser pointer or not playing at all. In this case I prefer play, but play that uses the laser pointer in a way that minimizes frustration.
Laser play the right way
Before getting into action, set up the environment for the game. In addition to the laser pointer, soft cat toys and highly prized cat food are needed for the job. Before playing, place the toys strategically throughout the play zone. Have food and treats at the ready.
Begin the laser game by aiming the beam in front of the cat and zigzagging it away from her. Periodically, encourage the cat to “catch” the elusive beam by pausing the light on one of the stuffed toys that is now doubling as prey. Before moving the beam off the toy, the cat needs to feel the toy solidly under her paws.
The intensity and length of the sessions will vary and depend on the individual cat’s age, physical conditioning, and level of interest. The play session endings are as important as their beginnings. Instead of ending abruptly, gradually slow down the beam until it finally comes to rest on a soft toy. After the cat makes her final catch of the session, feed a good meal. She will eat, groom, and then take a well-earned nap.
Thank you Derek for sharing this video of Arya!
Another announcement that came across my computer this morning:
I share this announcement because many of you have both dogs and cats.
PetSmart has issued a voluntary recall of one production lot of its Grreat Choice® Adult Dog Food sold on PetSmart.com, Pet360.com, PetFoodDirect.com and in nationwide PetSmart retail stores. This product is being voluntarily recalled as a precautionary measure due to metal contamination that could potentially be a choking hazard to pets.
This recall was initiated after receiving notification from the manufacturer of consumer complaints. PetSmart has not received any consumer complaints at this time.
The recalled products include the following Grreat Choice dog food sold between Oct. 10, 2016 and Feb. 7, 2017:
Product Name UPC Best By Date or Lot Code
Grreat Choice Adult Dog Food with Chicken & Rice Classic Ground, 13.2 oz. cans
The Best By date is found on the bottom of the can.
No other Grreat Choice products are impacted by this issue, and PetSmart is not aware of any reported cases of illness or injury related to this product to date.
Customers who purchased the recalled food should stop feeding it to their pets and bring any remaining cans to their local PetSmart store for a full refund or exchange. For more information about the voluntary recall or if customers have any questions, contact PetSmart Customer Service at 1-888-839-9638 between 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. CST.
Just another reason to purchase Life’s Abundance for your cat AND dog!