Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 22, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

CAT VACUUMING....Every two weeks a pair of housecleaners comes to clean our house. They ring the doorbell first and then a few minutes later they start vacuuming. Our cats are so spooked by this that actual vacuuming is no longer necessary to send them scurrying up the stairs to hide under the bed. All you have to do is ring the doorbell.

Most cats are like that, right? Which makes the display of cat vacuuming on the right especially remarkable. On the other hand, I've heard that white cats are often deaf, so maybe that's what makes the difference here. Our guys might like it too if the damn thing didn't make so much noise.

Via Balloon Juice.

Kevin Drum 3:06 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (61)

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Comments

Whenever my cats are misbehaving I warn them that unless they "cut it out" I am going to vacuum! I walk towards the closet where the vacuum cleaner is kept and instantly the cats stop scratching the arms of my furniture. They now associate scratching furniture with the vacuum and the problem has been fixed.

Posted by: kathyp on May 22, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

My male cat is either indifferent or belligerent towards the vacuum cleaner, depending on his energy level that day. The girls (and the dog) leave the room.

Posted by: nolo on May 22, 2007 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

That cat is enormous. It's not running away because the critter's little legs wouldn't support it.

Posted by: Eric on May 22, 2007 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Eric nails it. Not hard of hearing, but hard of moving, the white one is.

Posted by: Matt on May 22, 2007 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

White cats with blue eyes are deaf. A friend has one and it's the only cat I've seen that likes watching fireworks.

Posted by: johnf on May 22, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Try a very long hose extension where the vacuum is out of the room and the sound is not an issue. Be sure to set the power of the vacuum to the lowest setting possible. Introduce the nozzle while you are combing the cat. This sometimes works. PS.WEAR HEAVY GLOVES IN CASE OF OPERATION FAILURE

Posted by: Jackie on May 22, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

If you start them as kittens, they can be "trained" (in the loosest form of the word). My Siamese could be bathed, brushed, vacuumed and have his nails clipped, and would just purr away through it all. Of course, there were a few tense moments during the initial attempts , but we made it through relatively unscathed and untraumatized.

The only mistake I made was opening their cat food with the electric can opener. They associated the sound with getting fed would wrap around my legs, rubbing and meowing, even if they had just been fed 10 minutes ago. I finally ended up using a plain old manual can opener.


Posted by: Joshua Norton on May 22, 2007 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

When the vacuum cleaner starts, our dogs come running. They enjoy getting vacuumed. Particularly in the springtime, when they're shedding.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on May 22, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

My mother had a grey and white cat back in the day who enjoyed being vaccuumed. I think the cat realized that if she was vaccuumed, she didn't have to groom herself, and hence, did not have to expend extra energy.

One of my foster dogs for a while was a Jack Russell who would run up to the vaccuum (it was one of those portable ones used for cleaning corners) and bite down on the end. His little tongue would then get sucked up, but still, he refused to let go. You could drag him all across the room, he loved it, and it didn't seem to hurt him or his tongue.

Posted by: Sovay on May 22, 2007 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

My dog hates the vacuum too. Just merely get it out and she's out of the house thanks to the doggie door.

Posted by: Robert on May 22, 2007 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

in our house only 1 out of 3 cats pays any attention to the vac. because the one cat doesn't like the vac she takes off which causes the dog to chase her. now all you have to do is get the vac out and the dog starts running around looking for a cat to chase.

Posted by: supersaurus on May 22, 2007 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah! It's Friday!!! Yeah!...what the hell?

Posted by: yocoolz on May 22, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Did you ever see the video of the cat playing the piano? It is on of the funniest things I've ever seen. It sits on the stool and strikes the keys with its paws. Too funny.

Posted by: Joshua Norton on May 22, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

I noticed that my cat doesn't seem to mind the more subdued sound of the Dyson vacuum. Not only is it the best vacuum I have ever owned, but cat friendly too!

Posted by: Jack on May 22, 2007 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

you guys might want to check out cuteoverload.com
since they had this video up a few days ago.

today's video of a hedgehog fascinated by a roll of toilet paper is funny.

Posted by: Michele on May 22, 2007 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Nature abhors a vacuum and so does my cat.

Posted by: neil wilson on May 22, 2007 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Amazing. Love those felines!

Posted by: Vincent on May 22, 2007 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

My three cats have gotten used to the Roomba we've had since February. They kinda like to be nearby when it's running, so they can keep an eye on it, but they'll walk across the floor while it's zigzagging its way back and forth across the rug.

Now I just need a Robomow for the yard...

Posted by: low-tech cyclist (formerly RT) on May 22, 2007 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

further proof that cats are useless.

Posted by: David Trich on May 22, 2007 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

our cats used to love the vacuum cleaner -- esp when you'd run the nozzle down their backs they were in ecstacy.

Posted by: linda on May 22, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

I've heard that white cats are often deaf

Your memory fails you. What you've heard is that all cats are grey.

Posted by: mattstan on May 22, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Mattstan: Only at night!

Posted by: Kevin Drum on May 22, 2007 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

usually they're afraid of the vacuum, but not always. Back in the 1960s we had an otherwise quite timid black cat (no heaing problems at all) who was utterly unconcerned about it, to the point that he would calmly let you suck his tail up the hose (I hasten to add that this was a tank-type cleaner). At the same time, we had a Siamese who had convinced herself that the same tank-type's hose was actually a giant snake, and would attack its "head" with grim, unswerving determination even when it was turned off if you waved it around.

As for Kathyp's helpful hint: thanks. I'll keep it in mind. (When dealing with cats, it is absolutely crucial to keep reminding yourself that you're bigger than they are and it's YOUR house.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on May 22, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Scaredy cats. My cat runs just at the sight of the vacuum, and now even the broom since I tend to sweep first, then vacuum. They definately don't like loud noised which I find odd since my dog has no problem with noise like that.

Posted by: Fred on May 22, 2007 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

We have a pure white Turkish Angora who is deaf. My vet did mention that it's fairly common for white cats to be deaf though it's even more common for blue eyed Angoras.

Our cat will let us vacuum him a little but nowhere to the extent of this kitty.

Posted by: Steve on May 22, 2007 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

We used to have a deaf cat that still hated the vacuum. But he didn't run and take a dump in the closet like my sister's dog would...

Posted by: thersites on May 22, 2007 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

We used to have a white kitten with blue eyes who was absolutely deaf as a doornail. He was with us for about four weeks when he simply disappeared off the face of the Earth.

Posted by: cld on May 22, 2007 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

I have a vacuum like gizmo that blows instead of suctions air for grooming my two shelties. They don't like it but they tolerate it. It really, really cuts down the amount of time needed for their coats to dry after a bath and helps prevent tangling in their coats as their fur dries.

I also have an attachment for a canister style vaccuum that is made for vacuuming your dog, to get all the hair when they are shedding. My dear departed Mac (hearing not so great in his golden years...) loved getting vacuumed!

Posted by: HokieAnnie on May 22, 2007 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

My cat loves being aggressively brushed, if he were deaf he'd act just like that. I wish, he sheds like crazy.

Posted by: techne on May 22, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

That's just not right...

Posted by: Brian on May 22, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

I would require a blood transfusion if I even ATTEMPTED that!! And they hate the Dyson even more than the previous vacuum...but thanks to the writer of the first post re: assoc vac and furniture scratching!

Posted by: Penguins In Burma on May 22, 2007 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

I have one cat who's autistic and didn't mind being vacuumed by our Dirt Devil. Problem was, I couldn't take the noise of that little machine!

Posted by: bigcat on May 22, 2007 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Don't miss today's Slate article about all those LOLcat pix that are bouncing around the net. I never realized how much a "cat cult" was going on!

http://www.slate.com/id/2166338/nav/tap1/

Posted by: merrimarr on May 22, 2007 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

My guys, Lenny and Louie, freak out too every other Tuesday when my housecleaner comes. Lenny feels a little safer when daddy's around, but not much. Actually, even a knock on the door will immediately prompt both of them to hide.

My first cat, Ralph was pretty fearless, though. He would let me "vacuum" him with a dustbuster, but I doubt he would have put with a full-size vacuum.

Posted by: Randy G on May 22, 2007 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Political Animal turned into an "lolcats" fansite so gradually, I hardly even noticed.

Posted by: keptsimple on May 22, 2007 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

I'd never heard that white cats w/ blue eyes were prone to deafness, but that they couldn't see very well. I have one, and he can't see for shit, but he hears just fine.

Here's a question: how in the world does one determine that their cat is AUTISTIC?

Posted by: El Caballo de Sangre on May 22, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

I'll bet you could teach a dog to run a small vacuum cleaner around the house.

Heh.

Posted by: ferd on May 22, 2007 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Well, that's the funny thing- I had a cat move in and at first she couldn't understand why all the others ran away when the vacuum ran. But after a while she decided if they were running, probably she should too. (None of them have ever been harmed in any way by the vacuum, and about half of them have no problem with a Skilsaw running in the same room.)

So, in a cat democracy, they will decide to go with the majority- and, after all, you always hope children will learn not to touch stove burners without actually touching one to learn, so learning by example, without any proof, is not entirely stupid.

Posted by: serial catowner on May 22, 2007 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

I'd end up in the emergency room if I tried that on my cat. My dog overcomes his vacuum fears by biting the machine. I have to put him outside whenever I run it.

Posted by: Delia on May 22, 2007 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

I found out I could vacuum my cat when it occurred to me that I had to bodily move her just to vacuum the spot she was lying on. She likes it as long as I don't accidentally vacuum her ears.

Posted by: scribo on May 22, 2007 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

It looks like a fake -- a cute fake, to be sure. A working vacuum cleaner would suck in the skin, not to mention the fur.

Posted by: Stephen G. Zank on May 22, 2007 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

"It looks like a fake -- a cute fake, to be sure. A working vacuum cleaner would suck in the skin, not to mention the fur."

Not really. A vacuum clogged by cat fur has really poor suction....

Posted by: lahke on May 22, 2007 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

The trick is to show them how good it feels and to cup your hand around the nozzel to regulate the suction and massage with fingers. Stay away from the face or any other bodly opening or one of you will need emergency treatment. Vacuming can be dangerous, so be careful. REAL CAREFUL >

Posted by: artemiscal on May 22, 2007 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

I run and hide when i hear a vacumn cleaner running....

Posted by: apeman on May 22, 2007 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

My brother's smart dog thinks the Roomba is a toy, and the point of the game is to shut it off. She usually bites it just right within five or ten seconds. (She also loves popping balloons.)

The miniature Pinschers, on the other hand, run from vacuums.

Posted by: bad Jim on May 22, 2007 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

still banned?


[To the best of my knowledge you were never banned. The system has been flakey the last few days. Apologies for the inconvenience - to you and everyone who has had problems posting.]

Posted by: Brojo on May 22, 2007 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

My cat LOVED this. He was a black cat, not deaf. He loved to be vacuumed. He wouldn't come running to it or anything, but if you were vacuuming and pulled out the hose, he'd enjoy a good hosing. He'd purr and everything. He looked just like this cat. I'd even suck his tail up the hose!

He was terrified of cars, though.

Posted by: anonymous on May 22, 2007 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK
On the other hand, I've heard that white cats are often deaf, so maybe that's what makes the difference here.
Well, if you'd just read the description on the YouTube page:
This is a video showing us vacuum cleaning our cat. She is huge and totally deaf from birth.
So it does cite the hugeness some commenters above mentioned, too.

I also grew up with a big, white, deaf cat.

Posted by: Randy Owens on May 22, 2007 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

my cats always cower when "the Beast" is out. however, it DID come with a special attachment that appears made for the purpose of vaccuuming the cats. hmmmmmm

Posted by: susan on May 22, 2007 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

I just vacuumed today and our orange cat, Tortilla, hardly moved an ear. I had to vacuum around him. My husband used a pressure washer the other weekend and Tor stood by the window and watched for hours. Clearly a geekish kitty.

Posted by: Susan on May 22, 2007 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

We own a 102 pound Doberman who is a truly beautiful specimen and a great companion. I worry however, that some punk will figure out all he needs to burgle our house is a dust buster.

Posted by: fafner1 on May 23, 2007 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

Unreal.
Easily the most mellow cat I've ever seen.
Ever.

Posted by: John on May 23, 2007 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

http://www.23hq.com/tobyscott/photo/604362 for a picture of my Mother vacuuming Webster. He'd get very upset if he didn't get the vacuum when someone was cleaning. Then again, he was a prodigiously stupid cat (he died last year).

Toby

Posted by: Toby on May 23, 2007 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

Ever wonder how a fat cat on Qualudes would act? That's what this one looks like.

Posted by: Rick B on May 23, 2007 at 5:47 AM | PERMALINK

I've had cats that would attack the vacuum cleaner and bite and scratch the hose.

Posted by: merlallen on May 23, 2007 at 6:29 AM | PERMALINK

I once had a long-haired white, blue-eyed cat who was stone deaf. She loved to sleep on my stereo speakers, apparently because they purred to her. She also loved riding in the car. When I moved from NC to CA, she sat on the back of my seat for the entire length of I-40, looking down out the window, fascinated by the white lines on the road.

Posted by: Tinroof on May 23, 2007 at 7:19 AM | PERMALINK

We had a cat who loved to be vacuumed. She's lay on her side and revel in the experience. And the cat was neither hard of hearing nor unable to get away. She also loved to be brushed. And the cat would put up with all manner of nonsense from our daughter when the latter was a toddler.

Alas, this mellow feline departed for the Great Litter Box In The Sky a few years ago.

Posted by: charles calthrope on May 23, 2007 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Growing up, we had a white cat with blue eyes. Could hear everything just fine -- and was terrified of the vacuum.

Posted by: Staunch Moderate on May 23, 2007 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, Kevin. When are we going to see Friday Video Cat Blogging on your site? It's time to see Domino and Inkblot in action.

Posted by: Staunch Moderate on May 23, 2007 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

Have your cleaners only use Mieles - Much more quiet. Don't know if they have made a Katzen-Flocken model yet.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on May 23, 2007 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

A classic case of classical conditioning! (i.e.,
Pavlovian conditioning)
_____________________

Every two weeks a pair of housecleaners comes to clean our house. They ring the doorbell first and then a few minutes later they start vacuuming. Our cats are so spooked by this that actual vacuuming is no longer necessary to send them scurrying up the stairs to hide under the bed. All you have to do is ring the doorbell.

Posted by: Plexix on May 23, 2007 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK
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