Cats Are Afraid of Vacuums. Here’s Why

Last updated on December 12th, 2021

Each and every cat on the planet is going to have their own personality. Likes, dislikes, wants, and desires are going to be different depending on the animal’s character.

Despite this, there are many common characteristics that cats around the world have in common.

Some of the similarities include finding joy by playing with rubber bands, being unable to resist chasing after a bug, and even crying when their food dish has no kibble left in it.

Another thing that many cat owners around the world have noticed about their furry feline friends is that they’re afraid of vacuum cleaners.

This can leave some cat lovers puzzled. Why are cats frightened of vacuum cleaners? It’s not like you’re chasing your cat around the house with it. You’re just trying to clean up a little.

Cats are afraid of vacuums because the loud noise produced by them is very loud and irritating to their eardrums since they have very sensitive ears, however, you can desensitize your cat from a vacuum cleaner by leaving it on in another room so that your cat can become familiar with the sound.

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What about vacuums that scare cats?

Imagine you’re your cat. You’re enjoying your day lounging about throughout the house without a care in the world when suddenly your worst nightmare comes to life.

The scary monster that is kept in the closet comes out and is terrorizing the house again!

Its loud screams rip through the air as it moves back and forth, searching for a way to get to you.

This is what your cat sees when you start your vacuum up for some light cleaning. Yes, it sounds a little dramatic, I know.

However, your cat’s ears are much more sensitive to sounds than human ears.

In fact, a cat can hear as low as 48 HZ and as high as 85,000 HZ while a human’s range is only 20 to 20,000 HZ.

Because a cat’s ears are so sensitive to sound, their hearing can be damaged by loud sounds.

The noise that a vacuum cleaner makes can be quite loud to a cat and could even possibly hurt their ears, which is why the loud noise of a vacuum is the main reason cats fear them.

It’s also instinctual for cats to avoid loud noises as loud noises in the wild can signify a predator or some other threat the cat needs to stay away from.

Cats may also become anxious when a vacuum cleaner is brought out due to the kind of movement it makes.

The quick back and forth movement of a person using a vacuum cleaner on their flooring isn’t something a cat is expecting to see.

This combined with the loud noise can be quite jarring for your cat.

The final reason that a cat might be frightened of a vacuum cleaner is because of something that happened in its past.

Not every cat has entered its new family at a young age, and not every person knows their cat’s entire history when they bring it home.

Sometimes a cat has been in another home and has some sort of trauma or bad experience involving a vacuum cleaner.

If this is the case, it’s best to separate your cat from the room you’re going to be vacuuming before you start to limit the amount of stress your cat will feel when you clean.

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How can you help your cat get used to a vacuum cleaner?

Now that you know a probable reason why your cat is afraid of the vacuum cleaner, you might be wondering if you can help your cat get used to it.

Well, while it’s possible to try and make your cat feel at ease when the vacuum cleaner is out, every cat is going to be different.

The younger a cat is, the easier it’ll be to desensitize it to a vacuum cleaner.

The first step to trying to desensitize your cat to vacuum cleaners is simple.

You first need to leave the vacuum cleaner out.

I know, you probably have a specific place you like to keep your vacuum when you aren’t using it.

However, leaving the vacuum cleaner out when you aren’t using it will help your cat see that it isn’t a threat. At least, when it isn’t on.

Anyways, make sure that you’re moving the vacuum cleaner from one room to another after a day or so.

After around a week or two of leaving the vacuum cleaner out and about in the house, you’re ready for the next step.

Make sure that you’re in a room with a door. Keeping your cats out of this room, start your vacuum cleaner up and let it run for a little bit.

Do this at least once a day for a few days in a row, being sure to change up which room you’re in. This will allow your cat to slowly get used to the sound of the vacuum cleaner.

Now that you’ve been running the vacuum cleaner away from your cat for a while, you’re going to need to start running the vacuum cleaner around your cat.

When doing this step, be sure to not use the vacuum just yet. You want your cat to slowly warm up to the idea of the vacuum cleaner being on while in the same room.

If you start using the vacuum cleaner right away, your cat may still be afraid. Do this for a few days in a row.

The final step is to start up your vacuum cleaner in the same room as your cat and use it to vacuum the floor.

The hope is that by this point your cat will have gotten desensitized to the vacuum cleaner and not worry about what that loud machine is doing in his home.

Some things you can do to make this process easier are to make sure that your cat has plenty of hiding places to sneak off to in case he’s scared and to give him treats any time he’s around the vacuum cleaner.

Giving your cat treats when in the presence of a vacuum will reinforce the idea that the vacuum isn’t something to be afraid of.

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