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Your cat’s hobby of chasing things around the house, watching the whole room by climbing the bookshelf, and many other strange cat habits come from their wild ancestors who needed them to survive, chasing prey and escaping a predator . But if you play with laser pointers with your cat, scientists believe you are damaging their mental health, according to a study published July 23 in Animals magazine.
If you give your cat a chase that doesn’t end with her catching something, she can become frustrated. Laser games have been linked to cats that develop abnormal, repetitive behaviors or feline obsessive-compulsive disorder, the study claims.
Abnormal behaviors include self-directed aggression – chasing or chewing your tail, staring into shadows, and chasing light reflections, which can be signs of hallucinations and over-grooming. If your cat does such behavior repeatedly and out of context, it could be suffering from FCD. Complete treatment for the condition is not common, but treatments exist that aim to reduce such behaviors.
According to scientists, when cats pursue the laser pointer, they follow their instinct to hunt and capture prey, which they believe is the laser point. Not being able to catch the laser spot (your prey) can lead to motivational conflicts, frustration, and stress.
The researchers conducted an online survey of people who had had a cat for more than six months. They asked respondents a range of questions, from bonding with their cats to playing with a laser pointer and their cats’ behavior. Scientists found that abnormal, repetitive behavior was significantly linked to playing laser light.
According to scientists, providing resolution after the laser light game can help avoid the harmful effects. Such a solution could give your cats real prey to catch when the laser game ends so that they are not dissatisfied, frustrated and confused.
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