Cat Blogging

I have a cat named Isaac who is currently tipping the scales at around twenty pounds. In an attempt to control his weight I feed him light cat food (Science Diet, to be exact), and give him the absolute minimum he will let me get away with.

A number of people have suggested getting a laser pointer. Kitty sees the red dot on the ground and goes a little crazy trying to catch it, thereby getting his heart rate up and burning a few calories. So I finally got around to buying one. Brought it home. Isaac greeted me at the door (he’s very sweet). Pulled out the pointer and tried it out. Bright red dot appears on the floor a few feet from him. Let the excitement begin!


Nothing.

Oh, he saw the dot. His furry little head tracked it as I moved it back and forth. If I got it close enough to him he even thrust out a paw. But no chasing and basically no interest at all.

My other cat, Emily, was a little more interested. She followed the dot around for a few seconds but quickly lost interest. I would suspect that she understood about futility, except that she still occasionally chases her tail.

Anyone need a laser pointer?

Comments

  1. #1 erin
    June 4, 2009

    my cats like to exercise, but even they look at me like i’m crazy when i drag out the laser pointer. much better is a cat teaser – one of those wands with a mouse or bird on the end that they chase. my cats also really like chasing foil balls, so i throw a little foil ball, they’ll sprint across the room + chase + bat at it. the laser pointer is just too boring or too abstract for them. it doesn’t look like prey, it doesn’t act like prey, and when they catch it, they don’t have anything in their paws!
    another thing i do is leave a window open without a screen for a few hours – we get a few flies + spiders in the house + the cats go crazy chasing them.
    i volunteer at an animal shelter, and most of the cats will chase a teaser. the ones who will chase a red laser light are really the minority.

  2. #2 barry21
    June 4, 2009

    Haha. Better luck next time. Maybe they’ll be like young children and find more uses for the box…

  3. #3 Jon Fleming
    June 4, 2009

    He’s probably just more law-abiding than you are: he didn’t want to get sued over a patent violation.

    http://www.google.com/patents?vid=USPAT5443036

  4. #4 OmegaMom
    June 4, 2009

    Oh, just go lo-tech: A long piece of string with the center part of a roll of scotch tape attached to the end is enough to send our cat into frenzies. Also, empty grocery bags.

  5. #5 Karen
    June 4, 2009

    It all depends on the cat. All my cats get excited by the laser pointer, even the little old lady who can barely get around any more. Other than that, one is a fan of little cloth mousies, which he tosses around; another goes crazy over a feathery toy on a string; and the little old lady used to favor a thin, snakelike piece of cloth.

    Very little is predictable about cats.

  6. #6 Explicit Atheist
    June 4, 2009

    Don’t feed cats food that have grains. Feed them grainless meat. Supplement with live grass for occasional nibbling and maybe an occasional snack that cleans their teeth.

  7. #7 Bob O'H
    June 5, 2009

    The Beast had a similar reaction to a laser pointer (I suspect we’ve both been advised by the same person). What does work with him is throwing food for him to chase: he could keep that up all day. Dry food is better.

  8. #8 Donna B.
    June 5, 2009

    Our last cat was maybe dumber than most, but he would chase the laser dot anywhere, literally climbing the walls to get at it.

    After we got new curtains, we got other toys for the cat.

  9. #9 MarcusA
    June 5, 2009

    From my mega-experience with cats, I can tell you that foods packed with meat-by-products, carbohydrates, and salt turn kitties into little pigs.

  10. #10 Dr. Kate
    June 5, 2009

    A favorite of most of our cats has been a pipe cleaner wrapped around a pinky finger to make a little coil, and then tied onto a piece of string (the string is necessary only if you want to control the coil).I think they like it partly because if they pounce on it the wrong (right?) way, it springs up into the air. Curling ribbon (the kind you get around the holidays) is also a big hit, although you have to make sure they don’t eat it.

  11. #11 Erik 12345
    June 5, 2009

    I have to agree with those who say it depends on the cat. My friend’s cats enjoyed chasing the red laser dot so much it made me feel very unsportsman-like. Other cats couldn’t be bothered at all or even watched my hand moving the laser pointer instead of the red dot. Maybe a ball or a mouse-shaped cat toy works better?

  12. #12 mark
    June 5, 2009

    One friend’s cat went wild over tossed bottlecaps.

    Fat cat? My neighbor’s vet kept telling her to make her cat lose weight. One day she ran it over in the driveway. The vet told her, “The extra fat on him saved his life.” (The black grease streak never came off of that white cat.)

  13. #13 Michael Day
    June 5, 2009

    My dog, on the other hand, will chase a laser pointer “dot” to the point of near exhaustion…

  14. #14 Moopheus
    June 5, 2009

    Cat dancer. Irresistable to kitties.

  15. #15 DuWayne
    June 6, 2009

    The problem is that you didn’t get the pointer for something else and weren’t trying to actually do something not cat related with it.

  16. #16 Takis Konstantopoulos
    June 6, 2009

    It’s all a matter of personality. My cat, even at his old age, is still excited at the laser pointer. Animals, like people, do have distinct personalities and interests. Have you tried catnip?

  17. #17 Jerry Coyne
    June 6, 2009

    Post a picture! All atheists are posting cats this week!

  18. #18 Leni
    June 6, 2009

    Along with what Takis said, they also have different hunting/playing styles.

    My last cat was a stalker. She could not have cared less about the cat dancer :) But if you slowly pulled a string (or a plush animal tied to a string) around a corner she could not resist attacking. Plus you get them to do that goofy butt wiggle thing.

    Other cats prefer fetching or snatching things out of the air. Somehow I doubt you cat is one of these…Others like “burrowing”- getting things moving around under blankets or in those connectible kitty tubes you can buy super cheap. Some just like to sink their fangs into little plush animals. Texture seems to be important though…

    You could try rubbing a toy with a little chicken or something just to get him interested. Buy a lot of toys if you do that though, they’ll get gross.

    Do you have a cat tree? Maybe a little climbing would do him good. Or maybe he just doesn’t like playing. What about a harness and a leash? You could take him out for walks. Some cats do really well with it.

    Don’t give up Jason, continue your quest for toys!

    As long as we are on the topics of cat health, mine died a few weeks ago from a common and particularly nasty oral cancer (feline squamous cell carcinoma, aka “pure evil”).

    The biggest risk factor is tobacco smoke, but there is some evidence that sun exposure (for non-oral varieties), canned food, tuna and flea collars might also be risk factors. It seems sensible to use non-toxic cleaners in places where your cat might go- floors especially- but I don’t know if there is any evidence for increased risk of disease.

    I didn’t know about any of those things until it was too late. I can’t tell you how horrible this disease is, but it is frighteningly common. Cats are incessant groomers so they will ingest anything that is in their fur. I feel so incredibly stupid and guilty for not thinking of this earlier, but I didn’t.

    So don’t smoke in your house and keep your cat’s dental health a priority (easier said than done, I know). Hopefully you and your cats won’t have to go through what we did.

  19. #19 tabatha atwood
    June 6, 2009

    i made one purchase from a public tv catalogue- a remote controlled mouse- guaranteeed to get the fattest- laziest cat moving- cat was terrified- rottweillers were terrified- no more toys-fat and happy animals

  20. #20 JohnnieCanuck
    June 7, 2009

    My daughter’s cat love the laser so much, he comes running when he hears the jingle of the keychain links as you pick it up. Almost impossible to do it quietly enough that he won’t hear it.

    She uses the sound to herd him out from under the bed when he sneaks in there. So much for that aphorism, at least for a subset of cats.

  21. #21 FastLane
    June 8, 2009

    Don’t think of it as your cat being overwieght, Jason.

    Try to think of it more as ‘marbling’ =D

    Cats can’t see red, from what I understand, so they see a red laser pointer as just a bright (white, I guess?) spot. They tend to react more to green laser pointers, but from your description, I’m betting that wouldn’t work either.

    Sounds to me like your cat has completely lost any of its hunting instincts. Maybe let a few crickets loose?

  22. #22 sinned34
    June 10, 2009

    My wife’s very fat cat (30 lbs when we had him put down three weeks ago because his kidneys failed) only ever showed interest in three things: flies in the house, catnip and string. He wouldn’t actually chase the flies, but would just stare at them and emit a clicking sound. He sucked up catnip like a vacuum, and was only interested in string if you dangled it within reach.

  23. #23 Mr Mustache
    June 18, 2009

    I know something that will help him lose the weight or your money back! Go to kittyhooch.com and get one of their superpoles and bird toy and one of their mice. If the cats don’t play with them kittyhooch will refund your money plus 75 cents for shipping. Try the mouse first though, your cat will go ape!