Why are Cats Scared of Vacuums &How to Relax them?

It’s a hilarious situation when you’re a cat owner, but your cat acts like the boss in the house.

However, this “bossy” attitude seems to vanish when your cat comes across a vacuum cleaner.

Ever wondered why? If so, then you’ve come to the right place! In this article, I’ll be telling you why cats are scared of vacuum cleaners. Let’s begin!

Why are Cats Scared of Vacuums

5 Reasons Why are Some Cats Afraid of Vacuum Cleaners?

Loud Noise

We can all agree that the noise a vacuum cleaner makes is quite deafening, but in a cat’s case, it’s scary too. The loud noise of your vacuum cleaner can make your cat panic.

Cats have more sensitive ears and are adapted to sounds with much higher frequencies.

So, it is quite normal for cats to get afraid of the whirring noise of the cleaner.

Ready for a fun fact? Dogs are also feared of the sound of a vacuum cleaner, just like a cat! 

You can fix this problem by reducing the suction power of your vacuum cleaner which will reduce noise pollution as well.

Enormous Size

For us, a vacuum cleaner is just another electrical appliance used to clear out the dust, but since cats are much smaller in size than us, a vacuum cleaner will seem nothing less than a monster to it.

As your vacuum cleaner comes close to your cat, it’ll tend to get threatened or frightened, and instantly run away to avoid getting caught by the fiery monster!

Survival Instinct

Any animal’s nature (even ours) is to avoid any kind of danger headed our way, and since most cats see a vacuum cleaner as a danger, they’ll generally tend to avoid getting near the electrical appliance.

This is their survival instinct, guiding them to hide or scatter in the shadows to avoid any kind of contact with the “fiery monster”.

Cats are Scared of Vacuums due to Less Exposure

A cat’s growing period is its “socializing” period. This period starts when your cat is around two weeks old and ends when it’s seven or eight weeks old. 

If you’ve introduced your cat to a vacuum cleaner during this period,  then the chances of your cat being scared of vacuum cleaners are negligible. 

However, if your cat has passed its socializing period and wasn’t introduced to the electrical appliance previously then it will start to show vigilance towards your vacuum cleaner and avoid it.

Traumatic Interaction

Has your cat ever been introduced to a vacuum cleaner before? If yes, then how was its reaction to it?

Negative interactions play a vital role in shaping an animal’s reaction to something, not only an electrical appliance. For instance, stray cats, in particular, show vigilance towards humans, this is mainly due to previous negative interactions, causing them to become strictly alert to us.

However, pet cats are generally used to humans and do not show any sign of vigilance since they’re provided an environment where human beings are present from birth.

If the appliance made your cat panic, then it would have probably left a mark on your cat. This traumatic encounter will stay with your cat, and its reaction to this giant loud monster will remain the same.

How to Calm Down Your Cat around a Vacuum Cleaner?

How to Calm Down Your Cat around a Vacuum Cleaner

The sight of your cat becoming afraid of a vacuum cleaner may seem cute, but from a cat’s perspective, there’s severe distress and anxiety present.

This can lead to a series of health conditions as time passes.

Here’s what you can do about it:

  • Start by leaving your vacuum cleaner flat. This position comes as less threatening to your pet and seems to impose no danger whatsoever. Gradually, start to leave your vacuum cleaner in its standard upright position.
  • Leave your vacuum cleaner in the same room where your cat lives. 
  • Be sure to keep changing rooms where you’re keeping your vacuum cleaner to get your cat used to its presence all around the house. However, don’t let the electrical appliance near the cat’s personal space or items such as litter, sleeping place, etc.
  • You’re halfway there! Now, turn on the vacuum cleaner in a different room, preferably have someone else do that job, so that you can stay around your cat. Your presence around it will ensure the calmness of your cat even vacuum cleaner is running. You can also give your cat treats that way.
  • Once the sound of a vacuum cleaner from a distance doesn’t come off as threatening to your cat, try turning on the vacuum cleaner in the same room as your cat. It might scare the cat at first, so ensure your cat’s safety with your presence, and hand treats to your cat every time it stays in the same room as the vacuum cleaner.
  • Congratulations! You have successfully eliminated Zuigerphobia from your cat. Now, you can easily vacuum your house without fear of your cat panicking. However, keep those treats with you, and reward your cat when it’s around the vacuum cleaner.

Quick Tip

Handing treats to your cats for their good behavior, or whenever they’re near a vacuum cleaner is vital. Why? Well, reward your cat for a particular action, it’s likely to repeat those actions for another treat. This “action” will eventually become a habit. Not a bad deal, right?

Searching for “The Perfect Reward” for your cat? Here are the Top 10 Healthy and Tasty Treats You can use to Delight your Cat.


Cats are “animals with an attitude”. However,  this attitude stays valid until a vacuum cleaner shows up. 

This unusual behavior of cats is justified because the whirring noise of the vacuum makes them uncomfortable. Cats’ ears are much more sensitive to high-pitched voices and there are many other aspects pertinent to such attitude.

A thorough read of the article will give you a clear insight to understand why are cats scared of vacuums and how to help them calm down.

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