There are four kinds of play and cats want them all
From the time they’re kittens cats are hardwired to play in ways that build their hunting skills. Remember you have a furry hunter on your hands. Is there anything like the fierce focus of a cat pursuing prey? From cheetahs to lynx, you can see the same sharp concentration in them all.
Hunting is comprised of four sequential steps: Stalk, Chase, Pounce and Capture. A cat needs all four to fully satisfy that play/hunt urge.
Mother Nature gave cats soft paws to move stealthily so their target won't hear them coming.
Chase is the sudden burst of energy to run toward prey while maintaining steady eye contact. Here I come!
Pounce is that final exuberant leap onto prey. Almost there!
Capture is that sweet moment of success. Well done, kitty!
What about laser pointers?
Some cats go bananas for a laser pointer. The intensity of the light and the quickness of its movement are irresistible. A laser is fun because kitty can Stalk, Chase and Pounce. But Capture is impossible because it’s a light, not an object that can be seized or bitten. If you have a laser loving cat, balance it with other kinds of play that include Capture so kitty can have that triumphant moment of: I got it!
A variation on the laser is to point it at a small toy. That way kitty can follow the beam plus get a satisfying grasp on something 3D.