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One of my cats' favorite toys is a laser pointer, or a small, narrow beam flashlight. They will chase the laser point until they pant.
A flashlight is a good subsitute, but the highly focused beam of a laser pointer provides a much more interesting target for the cat. But be sure not to point the laser light directly into your cat's eyes, which could be harmful to their eyes.
I have to agree with the laser pointer. We have gone through three with our cat. He loves it so much, actually just yesterday I had him going in circles trying to catch the dot and he ended up falling down because he was so dizzy. He can't get enough of it. He rather have the lazer pointer than cat nip.
Yes, it's fun for us, but many cats (and dogs) become so fixated on them that they do nothing but search for the laser light continuously, whether we have it out for play or not. This strikes me as a bit cruel, so we've stopped using the laser with our pets.
While the laser is highly stimulating, it is also frustrating for the cat I think. There is no reward for trying to catch it, so there is no positive feedback or the satisfaction of a fun challenge where cats lose some and win some. It is always a lose situation even if the cat is fast enough, and that builds up the frustration.