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You can make a leopard chase its spots
March 13, 2013 2:15 AM   Subscribe

Almost three years after the question was asked do big cats like catnip, science is finally ready to answer the followup question do big cats like chasing laser pointers? The answer may surprise you. Bonus question: can you fit a leopard in a cardboard box?
posted by MartinWisse (32 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 


I have a great respect for those cats who seem more interested in the potential supper who is waggling about the laser pointer than they are in the spot of light.
posted by rongorongo at 2:43 AM on March 13, 2013 [12 favorites]


Why go for the cheap laser when you can have the hard stuff.
posted by quazichimp at 2:49 AM on March 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


can you fit a leopard in a cardboard box?

Oh noes! Now leopards can infiltrate my facility undetected! On the bright side my laser security system will be far more effective than originally expected.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:39 AM on March 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm gonna need that guy to sleep in the big cat cage for a night. I have some questions regarding feet and big cats.
posted by orme at 4:05 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bonus question: can you fit a leopard in a cardboard box?

Maru of the jungle.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 4:42 AM on March 13, 2013 [19 favorites]


The answer I got from that video was that medium sized cats do chase laser spots, but actual big cats couldn't give a damn, or just get angry. Pretty much what I expected.
posted by Diag at 4:48 AM on March 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


Hey, I have an idea: let's go out into the night when everybody's eyes are fully dilated and wave a laser around just to see what happens.

What a dick.
posted by indubitable at 5:01 AM on March 13, 2013


The answer I got from that video was that medium sized cats do chase laser spots, but actual big cats couldn't give a damn, or just get angry. Pretty much what I expected.

This makes me wonder if it's about prey size; would big cats chase a larger diameter spot?
posted by jaduncan at 6:01 AM on March 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


> What a dick.

I love seeing kitties at play as much as the next guy, but I couldn't help but wonder how many of those seemingly put-off big cats were recalling laser sighted rifles.
posted by davelog at 6:05 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]



This makes me wonder if it's about prey size; would big cats chase a larger diameter spot?
posted by jaduncan


But do they make them in Water Buffalo size? I think thats the key, smaller cats hunt smaller, quicker prey so they are ingrained to chase the small moving thing.

Tigers don't give a shit about mice.
/my uninformed opinion
posted by ShawnString at 6:07 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


And yet, the more important question remains unanswered: If you are allergic to cats, would you also be allergic to lions?
posted by The Bellman at 6:13 AM on March 13, 2013


It's a Natural Thing
posted by not_on_display at 6:19 AM on March 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Pet it; pet it; pet it.
posted by ersatz at 6:24 AM on March 13, 2013


I showed this to my cat, who is generally interested in wildlife videos, partiicularly those involving cats, and her reaction was OMG THE MOVING DOT GETITGETITGETIT
posted by Balonious Assault at 6:42 AM on March 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


I love that it seems they raided the vault of 70's porn soundtracks for the audio on these videos.
posted by the_royal_we at 6:54 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I question the wisdom of tormenting a 400-pound killing machine with a 3 dollar toy. But that's me.
posted by pjern at 7:59 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I love that it seems they raided the vault of 70's porn soundtracks for the audio on these videos."

I was weirdly reminded of one of the Monkey Island themes.
posted by Peevish at 8:22 AM on March 13, 2013


I think they need to expand their research to see if big cats like giant twist-ties, pipe cleaners and extra-large milk rings.
posted by mogget at 9:18 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I couldn't help but wonder how many of those seemingly put-off big cats were recalling laser sighted rifles.

I think "none" is a pretty safe assumption.
posted by yoink at 9:21 AM on March 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


Bonus question: can you fit a leopard in a cardboard box?

With 942 five year olds, you can.

Although I understand they're really turned on by French soldiers.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:43 AM on March 13, 2013


I don't think these cats were particularly "tormented". I'd seen this video before, but I'd forgotten how fun the tigers' dead-eyed "What on earth are you doing?" states were.

Big Cat Rescue is the best.
posted by maryr at 10:00 AM on March 13, 2013


Newsflash: Ducks.
posted by maryr at 10:22 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


The boxed leopard makes my day. Very tidy.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:35 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Considering that BCR was started with Baskin's personal collection of big cat pets and ex-breeders, I'd say that that precisely none of them were recalling laser sights. I will say that as a trainer, I strongly urge clients to not use laser pointers with their cats and dogs. While there are no studies (Curse you, Big Laser!), anecdotally I have seen enough dogs and cats with serious and dangerous light-chasing behaviour that seems to have been triggered by laser pointers to recommend against it. The plural of anecdote is not 'data', I acknowledge that, but considering the unnatural 'visual only' method of stimulation (which makes it oddly more compelling -- their little predatory minds are blown at the idea of a thing that can be seen but not tasted, smelled, touched, or heard), the impossibility of reward (they will never ever be able to catch the dot, leaving them frustrated), and the extreme seeking behaviour many cats and dogs exhibit after a laser play session, I fail to see why they think that potentially triggering OCD is a great idea.

Of course, I admit that I am strongly biased against BCR -- they are one of the most egregious spreaders of ludicrous misinformation about Bengal cats -- things like how they just want to kill and eat other pets, including German Shepherds and viciously chase old ladies down the street.
posted by Concolora at 11:02 AM on March 13, 2013


Wow, that's amazing amount of projection (snort). From PTSD to OCD in two steps.
posted by smidgen at 12:01 PM on March 13, 2013


the impossibility of reward

This is very easy to solve: end the game with the laser pointing at a treat you've stealth-dropped onto the floor. The very rare times I forget to end on a treat, the cats will march up and smack the laser pointer off the coffee table.
posted by jamaro at 1:19 PM on March 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


"We all know cats like to chase laser pointers"

Do they actually "like" it though? I tried it with my cat years ago and felt bad that he could never actually get the dot, it seemed like a form of torture.
posted by cell divide at 1:41 PM on March 13, 2013


Yeah, our cat is so frustrated by the futility of laser-pointer-chasing that we gave up after just a few tries. But ending on a treat seems like a good solution.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:51 PM on March 13, 2013


Speaking of big cats: Rare footage of snow leopard recorded in north-west China
posted by homunculus at 3:46 PM on March 13, 2013


This makes me wonder if it's about prey size; would big cats chase a larger diameter spot?

Maybe it's about brain size - aren't big cats and dogs smarter then their smaller relatives?
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:14 AM on March 14, 2013


It could be about senses too. If the larger cats rely more on hearing and scent than vision to catch prey, they might not be all that interested in the laser.
posted by maryr at 4:55 PM on March 14, 2013


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