The PetSafe Dancing Dot Laser Toy offers plenty of mental and physical stimulation with fast and rapid movements for challenging and unpredictable fun. While it may not appeal to all cats, its affordable price, versatility, and compact design make it well worth the purchase.
Capable of being pre-programmed
Can be placed on flat surface or hung
Great random movements
The motor is a little noisy
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The Dancing Dot Laser Cat Toy is a cute-looking tech device that aims to tap into your kitty's instinct to chase and pounce. By aiming a laser towards the ground and quickly moving the light at random, it not only catches your cat's attention but keeps moggies mentally and physically stimulated for a decent period of time – all with very little effort on your part.
Simply place it on a flat surface or hang it from a doorknob and you can sit back and let the toy do its thing. The higher it is positioned, the wider the area the laser will cover and you can either set it for a one-off session or have it fire up automatically every couple of hours – features that made it our overall pick of the best automated cat toys.
PetSafe Dancing Dot Laser Toy: Features
It's clear that some thought has gone into the Dancing Dot Laser Cat Toy. For starters, as you take it out of the box and remove the protective plastic bag, you'll be immediately struck by its feline-styling – a fun, rounded design topped by a pair of cat ears and finished with a four-legged stand that makes popping it on a shelf or table top very easy indeed.
Such thought also extends to the most important part of the device: the laser pointer. This is located towards the bottom of the toy and it's angled at the ground. Not only does this ensure the light will flit around the floor, it also makes the laser far less likely to suddenly catch your eye. This, as we will discuss in a mo, is important because lasers don't come without caution.
Before you can get to see the toy in action, however, you need to insert some batteries. The device takes three AAA cells which are not included but, to insert them, you have to loosen a tiny screw to remove the battery door then tighten it again when refitting. It's presumably because AAA cells are relatively slim so they're more easily swallowed by children but it was a tad frustrating nonetheless.
Our next hindrance (and this one's on us!) was finding the power button. We looked around the device, having not consulted the manual, and realized that it is located to the left-hand side – the “issue” being that it's the same colour as the casing and fits flush. Once we found it, though, we liked the thinking. It's good that the button blends in well and the location ensures its easily accessible.
But how does it work? Well, there are two main functional features – “One-Time-Play” and “Play-All-Day”. The first is activated by pressing and releasing the power button and it starts a session lasting 15 minutes. The second requires you to press and hold the button until it beeps and this ensures that the toy will turn on for 15 minutes every couple of hours. But, in reality, it's not quite as straightforward as that.
Dancing Dot Laser Cat Toy: How does it fare?
We tried the toy in both of the recommended positions: sitting on a table top and hanging from a door handle using the strap that pokes out of the top of the device. In both instances, it resulted in the exact same outcome which was to shine a nice, bright laser light on to the ground and this certainly caught the attention of our reviewing cat.
Nova, it seems, likes nothing better than to chase a laser around the floor and he followed it with great enthusiasm. The movement felt random as the laser darted here, there and everywhere, ensuring head and paws remained active throughout the One-Time-Play Session. Our cat's focus was entirely on the ground although he did look at once at the source of the light, possibly because we were standing next to it.
This isn't really desirable. Although the toy uses a Class 1 laser which is the least hazardous type, the manual accompanying this product still comes with a warning. It clearly states that there is a risk of exposure to laser radiation and that you should never look into the laser beam or the laser beam reflection, averting your eyes immediately if you catch a glimpse of it.
It goes without saying that you wouldn't want your cat to eyeball the laser either so the manual also says that you should “supervise pet while playing with this product”. This is great advice and yet the product has a Play-All-Day feature which activates a 15-minute session every two hours.
We assumed this feature is designed for use when you're away from home, allowing your cat to be stimulated in your absence. Yet the warning made us think twice about using this mode in such a way and, as such, we'd be more inclined to stick to the One-Time-Play-Session mode. Not that it puts us off from using the product, though.
After all, most of the fun of a laser toy is that you can actually watch a skitty kitty darting around the place, and not having to do the controlling yourself means you can relax as your cat chases and pounces. Restricting sessions to 15 minutes worked well too. It ensured the battery didn't run down as fast and it prevented Nova from getting bored.
That said, we found the noise of the motor inside the toy was a little annoying and it would have been lovely if we could control the device from a phone, tablet or computer – a feature that, granted, would increase the price of the product somewhat. As it is, though, the toy kept our cat occupied for pretty much the full 15 minutes of each session. His inability to tire of the toy was admirable!
PetSafe FroliCat Cheese Automatic Cat Teaser: User reviews
Most users recommend this product. One wrote: “Does exactly as it says, nice random movements so it doesn't get boring, decent speed so kittens can keep up.” Another added: “Hours of fun, my three love it, best laser toy yet”.
But it's not unanimous. There are concerns that laser toys frustrate cats because they can chase and pounce but never actually catch. “If you haven't looked into laser pens and OCD in cats, do so before purchasing anything like this,” a user advised.
Should you buy the PetSafe FroliCat Cheese Automatic Cat Teaser?
If you're looking for a toy that springs into action for 15 minutes every couple of hours while you're out and about, then you may reckon this product is ideal. But then you have to remember that it's best used under supervision so if this is going to be your primary use of the Dancing Dot Laser Cat Toy, then you may want to reconsider.
But that's not to say you should write it off. Having a device that can automatically move a laser pointer around the floor for short-burst sessions proved good fun for both us and our cat. It has also become one of the most used toys in our pet box. As long as you and your cat avoid looking directly at the source and avoid reflective surfaces, this is certainly a recommended product.
David Crookes has been a journalist for more than 20 years and he has written for a host of magazines, newspapers, websites and books including World of Animals, BBC Earth, Dogs and Canines, Gadget and The Independent. Born in England, he lives in a household with two cats but he’s also keenly interested in the differences between the huge number of dog breeds — in fact, you can read many of his breed guides here on PetsRadar. With a lifelong passion for technology, too, he’s always on the lookout for useful devices that will allow people to spend more time with their pets.