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Cats vs Vacuum Cleaners

25th June 2021

Some cats are absolutely terrified of vacuum cleaners. The loud noise and imposing size can be very frightening for cats.

They prefer peace and quiet with a predictable routine. The appearance of a loud, large machine in their area can feel threatening.

Some cats are more fearful of the vacuum cleaner than others. If introduced slowly and safely to the noise and sight of the vacuum during their “socialisation period” (when they’re two to seven weeks old), they are less likely to be afraid as an adult cat.

Understandably, some people don’t have the chance to introduce them as a kitten if they rescue an older cat. Don’t worry there are still some things you can do!

Following these simple steps can help an adult cat less fearful:

Give them places to hide – When cats are scared, they like to run away and hide. This helps them feel safe. Make sure you give them the opportunity to do this when you’re using the vacuum cleaner. If you are vacuuming in the same room as the cat, make sure they have a clear escape route and provide lots of hiding places such as cardboard boxes and high shelves.

Store it out of reach – Keep it away from your cat’s resources such as their food bowl and litter tray. If they are scared of the vacuum, they might be put off using their area if it’s nearby. Make sure it’s out of their reach so they can’t chew through any wires.

Smell – Cats rely on their sense of smell to let them know what’s safe. Try gently rubbing a clean cloth on your cat’s cheeks, and then rub that cloth on the vacuum cleaner so they smell the same.

Let them explore – Try to avoid picking your cat up and putting them next to the vacuum cleaner. Leave it out for them to explore at their own pace (not unsupervised!). If they start to rub or sniff against it then that’s a good sign.

Size – Try laying the vacuum down flat on the floor when introducing it to your cat. It will seem less imposing. Then slowly stand it up.

Avoid vacuuming during nap time – If your cat is asleep nearby you could startle it by switching the vacuum on. Try turning it on when they’re away and in another room.

Short periods – Try vacuuming for short periods of time. Monitor your cat’s reaction closely to see how they cope. If they still appear terrified, try switching it off and try some of the previous steps again.

If you have an anxious cat there’s a fantastic product you could try called Feliway.

Feliway comes in either a spray or plug-in diffuser.

Click here to learn more about the diffuser.

Click here to learn more about the spray.