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Cosmo the Frightened Limp Lump

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
So when cats get scared, why do they go completely limp?

Whenever my cleaning lady comes Cosmo gets petrified. He HATES the vaccuum. If I'm in my office he'll hide in the furthest back corner under my desk. If I'm in my bedroom he'll hide under the covers on the bed.

But if I try to move him - like today, I was moving from my bedroom down to my office and knew he was scared so figured I'd take him with me - he goes completely limp... like a rag doll... a heavy one

What's up with that?

BTW, the second time the cleaning lady came I couldn't find Cosmo anywhere. I went around the house calling and calling. I went back into my bedroom figuring I must have missed him and sure enough, there he was, under the covers of my completely made bed. If you looked close enough you could see the lump under the covers AND sheet, up by all the throw pillows. I felt bad for him but laughed my butt off!
post #2 of 19
both of my kittens are scared of the vacuum!! All i have to do is roll it out and they start running, now I put them in the room I'm not vacuuming before I even think about rolling it out. Any other time they get scared, they freeze, especially Sadie and if I touch her she jumps about 10 feet in the air. which is amazing but I feel bad.
post #3 of 19
Tolly does that if he is frightened he plays dead.
post #4 of 19
Please contact your vet and get his heart examined. A friend of mine had a cat that would 'faint' when it was scared. They laughed at it for fifteen years admittedly--
then when he died, it was discovered that he had cardiomyopathy.
I hope that this 'limp lump' behaviour is nothing serious, but the vet is best placed to tell you whether it signifies a problem.
post #5 of 19
I have pick up my kitty when she was scared. Far from being limp, she tried to claw and climb out of my grasp, basically turning into a feline cactus.

You might take your kitty to the vet like gizmocat suggested
post #6 of 19
I just had to post. My kitty is a Ragdoll (breed) and she goes limp quite often. She was scared of the vacuum until a new cleaning lady arrived with a different vacuum. She had an ultra quiet model and kitty is no longer afraid! (So, deferring to kitty's wishes, I bit the bullet and bought an ultra quiet vac.)
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
I've had my vacuum for like 15 years... it's a noisy Electrolux... I think I got my money's worth, so I might have to look for an ultra-quiet one.

I don't think he needs to go to the vet. He doesn't faint. He's wide awake and alert. It's just that if he decides to move on his own he stays real low to the ground. If he's all slinky low or laying down and I try to pick him up, he's like a limp lump... like he's telling me "hey! I don't want to move!"
post #8 of 19
Just FYI...I found a Kenmore Progressive Canister Vacuum with QuietGuard (orig. $500) for $150 at the Sears Appliance outlet. It's new/refurbished but it has a one year (extendable) guaranty. Big difference in kitty's (and my) attitude toward vacs.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
he goes completely limp... like a rag doll... a heavy one
I swear they can change their density and weigh more when they're scared.

Gypsy goes the exact opposite of a rag doll. She turns into a boulder. It's like she tucks in her legs and neck like a turtle and becomes one heavy solid round ball.

Then there's the "flying squirrel" when you try to put them in or take them out of the carrier...
post #10 of 19
poor little limp Cosmo. Does anyone have a cat who enjoys the vacuum cleaner?
post #11 of 19
Many animals 'play dead' when afraid, but this is usually a feature of prey animals rather than predators! I would arrange a checkup to get his heart listened to.

Radar goes limp and floppy when we pick him up to remove him from somewhere that he wants to be but we would prefer he wasn't! It's as if he is saying with his whole body 'you may want to move me but I'm not going to help you', but that isn't out of fear, it's just when he's being difficult
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Epona View Post
Many animals 'play dead' when afraid, but this is usually a feature of prey animals rather than predators! I would arrange a checkup to get his heart listened to.

Radar goes limp and floppy when we pick him up to remove him from somewhere that he wants to be but we would prefer he wasn't! It's as if he is saying with his whole body 'you may want to move me but I'm not going to help you', but that isn't out of fear, it's just when he's being difficult
Well, I don't think the limp thing itself is a fear response - I think when I go to move him WHILE he's afraid he's doing exactly what Radar is doing -- he's telling me "hell no, I'm not going to help you carry me somewhere I'm afraid to go!"

I'd be concerned if he just went limp in response to fear -- but it's only when I try to pick him up WHILE he's afraid that he does that. His instinct is to run and hide -- it's when you try to move him from his hiding spot that he turns into the great limp lump.

Abigail - I bet there is some cat, somewhere who LOVES the vacuum. I bet if we were to look hard enough we could even find a picture of a cat riding on one

and Lorina, I think you're right!
post #13 of 19
Your cat's behaviour sounds a lot more normal when you describe it more fully.
My Gizmo turns into 'cat taffy' when she doesn't want to move, and she's fully conscious when she's doing it.
I swear, she runs through my fingers...

But any cat that really appears to 'faint', and loose consciousness, should see a vet. That could be a heart problem.
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Okay so I HAD to look it up:

Found these:

Attack Cat:
http://www.dennisgorelik.com/photos/...uumCleaner.JPG

Cat loves the vacuum:
http://www.stuffonmycat.com/index.php?itemid=209

You Tube:

Cat loving vacuum:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AysPsJIZ9vw

Cat boxing with vacuum:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajz4gGG0b8g

Vacuuming the Cat
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7K4FLHhn4Y

Cat ON Vacuum
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZfkuhoO9nw

Look up "cat vacuum" on youtube and some are just plain hilarious!
post #15 of 19
I agree that with a fuller description of your cat's behaviour it sounds more normal and less to be concerned about. Obviously if any cat appears to faint or lose consciousness then a vet check is in order, but I think that 'going floppy' when you pick them up is more a sign that they don't want to be moved - with mine it's that he's having fun and doesn't want to be taken away from the action, with yours it sounds as if when he is fearful of something he'd rather stay put and be afraid where he is than be moved into 'the unknown' at a new location, if you see my meaning!
post #16 of 19
buttons is TERRIFIED of the vacuum cleaner. It's not that noisy but he runs away and peeks at it from behind the door. but he doesn't go limp.
post #17 of 19
Fred always hated the big vaccuum cleaner, but he would let me use the Dustbuster on him occasionally. He was such a goofy boy.
post #18 of 19
Marcie is terrified of the big vaccuum, but she doesn't care about the Roomba or the Dustbuster.
post #19 of 19
When I was a girl my father got the bright idea to vacuum the hair on our Beagle/Bassett/Jack puppy, Peaches. Peach was actually about two years old at the time and weighed forty pounds.

Dad asked me to hold the dog's collar in the livingroom to keep her quiet, and placed the vacuum at the base of the dog's tail.

The next thing I knew I was dragged rapidly into the dining room by a frantically scrabbling dog doing a sort of breast-stroke on the wooden flooring. She moved FAST. I weighed about four times as much as she did but fear provided the motivation!

That was the last time THAT happened with the Peach, and Gizmo will be spared the aggravation since she has no love for the much, much quieter vacuum cleaners of today!
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