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How do I lessen vacuum trauma

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi. My cat is named Mitch, and she is 2.5 years old and is scared of the vacuum cleaner. Whenever I fire it up she goes running to her safe spot under my bed, and hides there long after I turn it off. If I start to vacuum the bed room she will make a mad dash for her downstairs safe spot in the back of my recording studio racks. It takes some coaxing to get here out from the safe spot, and once she does, she doesn't leave my side for an hour or two. Is there any way to condition her to the noise of the vacuum? Perhaps I should buy a quieter unit.

- Jeff
post #2 of 15
My cat Ivo also is afraid of the vacuum, or "monster machine". When I first took her in, she would hide at the far back of a small closet I have, and not come out for over an hour. Now, she just moves to another room and either hides under my kitchen table or under my desk. It seems as if her fear has lessened somewhat, and she recovers much faster. Perhaps over time Mitch will become a little more accustomed to the vacuum.
post #3 of 15
Ha ha. I used to have a cat that was terrified of the vacuum. She never got used to it. Had to run and hide whenever I ran the vacuum for the 17 years she lived with me.

I think the only thing that made it a little easier on her was when I warned her. It got to be regular procedure ... I would take out the vacuum, and before turning it on, I would get her attention, and say, "you better run and hide -- I'm gonna vacuum," at which point she would run under the bed. If I needed to switch to vacuuming the bedroom, I would get down on the floor, lift the bedskirt and tell her to run someplace else. I think telling her to hide BEFORE actually turning on the vacuum helped. She could run to her safe place before all the noise and it seemed less traumatic for her. It only took a couple of times for her to understand what I was saying (the sight of the vacuum definitely helped).
post #4 of 15
I had a really cool kitty once, an orange boy named Sundancer. He was deafened by being abused and I rescued him. He loved to ride on the vacuum cleaner- it was too funny! My ex and I ran a motel in Newport Beach at the time, and he would ride in the cart I used to clean rooms and then hop on the vacuum and just settle in for the duration of the cleaning. He was the talk of the town.

My whole crew scatters when I vacuum. I just get the machine out, and warn them all to leave, and they do.
post #5 of 15
One of my kitties is scared of it. She just runs behind the couch if I'm in the bed room and runs under my bed if I'm in the hall or living room with it. Garbage disposal gets her running too (unless she's eating.)
post #6 of 15
I think it's pretty universal for them to be scared of the vacuum. Ophelia sees me take it out and just goes into another room, casual as can be. Trent is my big, bad vacuum hunter. It is almost the only time I have ever heard him hiss. He keeps his distance but hisses at it, and if I push it too close to him he smacks it with his paw before hightailing it out of there. It's actually pretty funny (bad kitty mommy!) because he is this big black cat, with this little tiny hiss that you can't hardly even hear. He's such a brave boy.
post #7 of 15
All of mine are afraid of the big one, but Fred lets me use the Dustbuster on him. Cuts down on hairballs.
post #8 of 15
I have noticed that most cats are afraid of the loud noise. Even those who have been raised around the sound. I have about 4 who could care less when I have the vacuum out, but the rest scatter like marbles. The one tip I can give you if you want to try and reduce the anxiety is to put her in a bathroom when you vacuum. It puts her in a room where the vacuum isn't going to go and it muffles the sound a bit.
post #9 of 15
Hey lets start up a cat phobia tread, I have read some funny ones in the past.

My 3 are all differant when it comes to the vac, Harry being the biggest and a male is the scardest of the vac and will huddle under the bed covers complaining until it's all finnished, Hayley gives me the evil eye and walks off in a huff and Amy just sit's there and I have to vacuum around her.

The other things they have phobias about are -

Harry (everything)
Vacuum cleaner (As above)
Garbage collecters (runs and hides doing a commando crawl)
Plastic bags
Swishy jackets and pants like the shiny track suite stuff.
Aliminium foil makes him go nuts
Yesterday I was in the laundry and he and Amy were just sitting in the family room and I walked into the room and he just shot out the door lke a flash, scaring Amy as well, he came back a few seconds later looking very sheepish but I couldn't believe it.

Hayley (not much but has very strange behaviour).
She goes nuts when the mobile rings. She has been known to launch herself onto peoples chests or backs when their phone rings. (Not good for sustaining friendships.

Amy doesn't seem to get fussed much except she doesn't go to anyone else but me and she likes to shake hands.
post #10 of 15
My cat Isabel is only happy if she can sit on top of the fridge while I vaccume (that is annoying!) The other one stalks the vaccume and then ducks away if the vaccume "sees" her.
post #11 of 15
My kitty is also deathly afraid of the vacuum cleaner, and if we vacuum in the middle of the afternoon he'll hide under the bed until dark.

What we have started doing is shutting him in the bathroom before we even get the vacuum out. He doesn't like it, but once we're done, the vacuum cleaner is put away, and we let him out, he will slink around for a little while but return to normal much faster than if we hadn't shut him in there.
post #12 of 15
Originally posted by ImmortalFlower
The other one stalks the vaccume and then ducks away if the vaccume "sees" her.
Our Katie does the same thing. She also tries to catch Shake'n'vac as you sprinkle it out.
post #13 of 15
Thats cute!
post #14 of 15

Our Tum is reasonably catious around the vacuum... Bugs is completely terrified of it (and still is a 6 years). I think the best you can do for mitch is to give him a safe place to hide... and give him a clear path to take off when you vacuum his safe place.


ROTFLLLLLL over Hayley and mobile phones. I had a dear departed cat, Chkai, who HATED all rining and digitally toned things. She would shut alarm clocks off and answer the phone by knocking it off the hook... we had to keep both in drawers!
post #15 of 15
LOL The Dreaded Tum That would be soooooo funny to see, I can just imagine it. Hayley really does go nut's, she seems to mimic it and does these chirpy sounds, she walks back and forth rubbing against the phone and chews on the corners. If I hold it and walk around with the phone ringing she runs after it. I wish I could capture it and play it for you all. :tounge2:
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