Why Are Cats Afraid Of Vacuum Cleaners? Here's How To Help

Wondering why cats are afraid of vacuum cleaners? One of the answers might surprise you.
Are cats afraid of vacuum cleaners or do
they hide because they hate the sound?
Are cats afraid of  vacuum cleaners, Thomasina? My cats are terrified of ours.
-- Concerned 

Hey, Concerned!
I don't think all cats are afraid of vacuum cleaners. I'm not afraid of much of anything, and I think it's great fun to swat at ours and stare it down. Of course, it's not scared of me and just keeps coming, which is really annoying.

To understand why many cats are afraid of vacuum cleaners, look at yours through your cat's eyes.

They're just a couple of feet tall, and this huge, noisy machine that's much bigger than they are is heading in their direction. Of course they're scared!

What To Do When Cats Are Afraid Of Vacuum Cleaners

If your cats are afraid of vacuum cleaners, there are some things you can do to make the dreaded monster machine less scary.
  • They'll appreciate some warning when the vacuum cleaner's coming out ("We're going vacuum now") so they can get out of the way. And make sure they have an escape route so they can go into another room or hide under the bed without having to actually walk past the vacuum cleaner if they  want to.
  • Push the vacuum away from them, not towards them. You don't want them to think that whining monster on wheels is chasing them and just might gobble them up.
  • If your cats go out, try to vacuum while they're outside. They'll appreciate that!

The Other Problem With Cats And Vacuum Cleaners

For us, the other problem with vacuum cleaners is that they hurt our ears. 

Our ears are much more sensitive than yours are, and a loud noise to you is really loud and even painful to us. We also hear higher frequencies than you do. So the high-pitched whining of a vacuum cleaner is very uncomfortable. Hair dryers can make our ears hurt, too.

We understand that humans have to vacuum sometimes, but try to be considerate of your cats. Make sure they can get into another room and away from the horrid thing, so at least it won't bother their ears so much.

Here's an interesting chart on the range of frequencies animals hear.

Hope this helps, Concerned. If you'll excuse me, I'm heading for the door now because I hear the vacuum cleaner coming out.

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