Vacuum cleaners may well be considered a homeowner’s best friend but not everyone in the house actually like it. These extremely useful machines can be very loud and noisy and while it isn’t a problem for most pets, some would run away from it out of fear, especially cats. Don’t be surprised to see your furry friends crawl their way under the bed or the sofa every time they hear the cleaner.
However, if you’d rather want them to stay calm when you’re cleaning the house, removing their fear from it can easily be done as well – just follow the steps below.
Step 1: Find out which part they are afraid of
Does your cat get startled the moment you take out your vacuum cleaner out of the shelf? Does the fear start when the vacuum makes a loud noise or when it starts to move around? Figuring out the exact moment that triggers their fear for the object will help you figure out what to do next.
Step 2: Make the vacuum cleaner a part of their everyday routine
The only way to rid your cat with its fear of the vacuum cleaner is to make the machine a part of their day. If your pet starts crawling their way under the bed once you take out the vacuum, then leave it out where it can be seen. Get them used to the noise by turning the machine on in one room and petting your cat in another. This should help your cat get comfortable to the sound even if it is at a distance. If they are scared of the movement, try moving it in front of them slowly without turning it on so they’ll realize that it isn’t something to be scared of.
Step 3: Let them investigate the vacuum freely
Most furry pets get scared of new, loud machines because they are unsure what it is and what it does. Leave your vacuum out in the open where it can be seen, touched or smelled at. They are sure to become less afraid of it if they start seeing, smelling or hearing them during their daily routines. However, avoid placing your vacuum near the area where they sleep or eat. Also keep your machine away from the litter box.
Step 4: Place treats or toys near the vacuum
Animals become forgetful about the things they fear when there is a treat involved. Put their treats and biscuits on top or near the vacuum to force them to get near the machine. You can also try using a toy instead of a treat. Your pet will soon associate your vacuum as one of the things that they love but be careful as they might also think that the machine is something that they can play with.
Step 5: Reward your cat after you’re done vacuuming
Giving your cat rewards and treats after you vacuum the house helps condition their minds so they associate the object and the noise with something good. You can also use other alternatives such as giving them a yarn to play with or wet food. Pretty soon, your pet will start associating the vacuum with an activity that they enjoy doing.
Step 6: Talk to your cats about it
It can be surprising how much our furry pets understand human language. Perhaps it’s not the context itself that they love but the calm and soothing voice that you are using. You can try calling on to your cat in a friendly voice while the vacuum is running. Your commands might just be what they need to overcome their fear for loud vacuum cleaners.
Conditioning your cat or any other pet to stop fearing the sight or sound of a vacuum cleaner can take a lot of time and hard work. Don’t give up, be patient and look for alternatives if one method does not work. It won’t be long before your cat starts overcoming their fear. And, once you have successfully change their mindset, you never would have to worry about them scrambling their way under the couch or the bed the minute you take out or turn on the vacuum cleaner.
Gemma Tyler is a freelance journalist with 15 years of experience writing for consumer publications. She has tested and reviewed a wide range of household items from vacuum cleaners to washing machines and dehumidifiers to steam irons. Her attention to detail and exhaustive testing certainly makes her an expert in her field.