Do Big Cats Like Lasers?

You’ve probably played with your cats using a laser pointer. If they enjoy it, they’ll run after it, they’ll go in circles, they’ll jump up the wall, and they act like they’ll do anything to catch it. In a lot of ways, big cats are like our own cats. Have you ever wondered if big cats like lasers, too?

Big Cat Rescue, in Tampa, decided they wanted to find out. Watch below to see the results:

You saw that the cats closer to the size of our own furry feline friends at home were interested in the laser. Santino, a serval, really seemed to enjoy it. He tried, and tried, and tried to catch it, just like your cats might. Bailey the bobcat tried to catch it, too, as did Rambo the jungle cat (sadly, Rambo has since passed on).

One of the cougars, and one of the tigers, were both scared of it. They watched it, and then jumped away from it, possibly because they didn’t know what it was.

Most, however, just didn’t want to play. The video shows some of the leopards, other tigers, and lions, that just don’t seem to care. There’s even a caption on one of them that says, “Dude, seriously?” That’s actually how lots of these cats reacted.

Why do some big cats like lasers, but others don’t?

So why the difference? Why do some big cats like lasers, and others don’t? It’s hard to say. One possibility is that the little red dot just doesn’t provide enough stimulation for the bigger cats, which have bigger prey in the wild. However, that doesn’t explain why Canyon, a tiny sand cat, wasn’t interested (although it could have been that Canyon was shy-ish. He, too, is no longer with us).

There’s an old post on Reddit, from 2011, about this topic. The question was, “Would a lion chase a laser pointer?” A keeper at a zoo answered that they had actually tried that with their cats. Their lions didn’t respond to the laser, but their tigers did. The keeper said that their tigers reacted to the laser exactly the same as our own little kitties at home would.

So size, both of the cat and of its natural prey, doesn’t really explain why some big cats like lasers and others don’t. It’s possible it has something to do with stimulation, and it may just have to do with each cat’s individual preferences when it comes to their hunting instincts. Regardless, watching them at Big Cat Rescue is rather funny.

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