Seeing the Light

It all started one night last week, when I can only speculate that Foster got ahold of some extra-strength catnip. After being kept up for the greater part of the night by a cat who was dashing around playing with everything in sight, I decided he needed more exercise during the day, so he would sleep at night.


I read that, since cats are predominantly nocturnal, a cat who sleeps during the day has a lot of energy to burn off at night. House cats are especially prone to this as they are cooped up inside all day and can’t go wandering around the neighborhood burning off energy and calories.

Indoor cats have to be imaginative if they don’t want to be bored.

Owners of indoor cats have to be imaginative if they don’t want their house destroyed. I had pretty much done everything I could to make my house indoor-cat-friendly; you can see those efforts by clicking  HERE and HERE. But there was one thing I lacked…

A laser pointer!


(I got this picture by Googling “Laser Pointers for Pets”.)

I had always thought it was mean to make a cat chase around for something he could never catch, so I hadn’t considered getting a laser pointer before. But the articles I was reading said “Cats love to chase lasers”, “Cats need exercise,” and all kinds of other pro-laser statements, so I decided to try it.

I got my first laser pointer at the pet store. It broke immediately when I tried to put the batteries in it.

The instructions looked easy enough, except that only the front end of it would unscrew. The back cap, as seen in the instructions, wouldn’t budge. It took me awhile to figure out what I was doing wrong. By that time I had already taken the whole thing apart.

Thinking that if I had taken it apart there was no reason why I shouldn’t be able to put it back together, I worked on it for way too long. You can see in the picture (above right) how it looks like the end cap is permanent. As you can see in the bottom left photo, it wasn’t. You just had to pull really hard to get it to come off. I was amazed at all the pieces there are inside of a laser pointer. Even Googling “Inside of a laser pointer” didn’t help.

Foster was actually having more fun with the parts and the paper clips than anything else. (Okay, so laser pointers do keep cats occupied. That’s a plus.) I worked on it until well past the point of diminished returns, and then I saw the light…

Just go buy a new one!

Still wondering if it was really good for cats to chase something they could never catch, I went in search of a new laser pointer. I looked in a couple of different stores before I found one. They were also having a sale on M&Ms, so I figured that after all my hard work, well, you know.


And this one works!

In my 30 my years as a teacher in grades 7-12, I have confiscated many a laser pointer. Kids aren’t allowed to have them at school because they can be dangerous. Usually you can figure out who has it if you remain calm, don’t say anything, and watch the students when they aren’t looking. But I always worried about people being blinded by them and I see that has carried over to my cat. I try not to point it where he will look straight at it. And I feel guilty that he doesn’t get to “catch” it so I always have him play with something he can catch afterward.


I still can’t say I’m crazy about the idea of the laser pointer for pets. I do know it works great for getting him to come in from the garage without having to chase him all around. I read in one place where they suggested hiding treats and making the laser land on them so your pet can at least feel like he’s getting something out of it.


A quick post script: Panda has been found (again)! At the end of  the post “Lost in the House” I mentioned that he was missing again. Well…I had forgotten I’d put him in a drawer because one of his seams was coming apart, and I didn’t want Foster to ingest panda stuffing. He’s all sewed up now and so far hasn’t tried to run away.