Anyone who has owned a cat will tell you that dealing with cat fur and bits and pieces of kibble around the house is part and parcel of living with felines.
This is why many owners have invested in Roombas to help them deal with the fur and debris their pets leave around the home. Just imagine how much time and energy you can save when an automated vacuum cleaner does most of the legwork for you.
It is just an added bonus when you see your pet perched on top of the Roomba as it cleans the floor. But what exactly is the reason behind this adorable behavior?
Why your cat rides the Roomba
Cats ride a Roomba vacuum cleaner for a number of reasons, from warmth to energy conservation. Here are is a more detailed look at the reasons:
1. Your cat loves the free ride.
Your cat treats your home as his personal domain. And as such, he wants to survey everything inside. But that can mean expending a substantial amount of energy.
Cats are masters of energy conservation. This is why you see them sleeping for most of the day. For a cat, his energies need to be devoted to more important things. In the wild, that can mean spending most of his energy toward hunting.
Over time, your cat will figure out that the Roomba can provide him with a free ride while surveying his miniature kingdom. That translates to a substantial saving in energy which he can use as he deems fit.
2. Your cat is asserting his dominance.
The smallest addition to a room can scare off your cat, leaving him anxious. This new stuff, including the Roomba, threatens your cat’s territorial instincts.
In a way, when a feline rides a Roomba, he is conquering his fear of the gadget and is asserting his dominance over it.
Instead of cowering in fear, your cat displays confidence and tells the Roomba who is the ruler of this home.
3. Your cat likes the warmth of electronics.
Cats ride Roombas the same way that they sit on laptops: to seek warmth. Cats like to sit on laptops and other electronic devices due to a variety of reasons. One reason is to seek the warmth that these devices emit.
If you observe your pet’s favorite spots around the house, you will notice that these have one thing in common: they provide warmth. A lot of that has to do with the fact that they trace their roots to ancestors who lived in dry and arid areas.
As the Roomba operates for a few minutes, it begins to warm up. And to a cat, the Roomba can be the perfect place to get warm and toasty.
4. Your cat likes the Roomba’s vibrations
Although some cats are afraid of loud noises and vibrations, there are others that feel relaxed riding Roombas.
Most cats hate riding cars because of the loud noises and vibrations automobiles generate. But the Roomba’s sound and vibrations are different. The sound is not as loud while the vibrations are steady.
How to help your cat overcome his fear of the Roomba
Most cats are apprehensive of anything that is new to them, including Roombas. If your cat dashes toward the door once you begin to operate the Roomba, here are a few things that you can do to ease your pet’s anxieties.
You cannot expect your cat to ride the Roomba after unboxing and turning it on. Again, you have to understand the cats do not readily welcome changes in their living environments.
If your cat is apprehensive, you have to ease him to the idea of having a Roomba in your home.
Start by leaving the Roomba inside the room but do not turn it on. Allow your cat to investigate the device and give your cat treats and praise. Do these for a few days, moving the location of the Roomba from time to time.
Once your cat begins to become slightly familiar with the Roomba, move it to a nearby room and allow it to operate. This will help your cat become familiar with the sound emitted by the device. Again, offer your cat treats and praise so that he will develop a positive association with the Roomba.
After a few days, bring your cat and the Roomba together in the room and operate the device. However, make sure that there is a good distance between the two. Remember to reward your cat with treats for good behavior.
Maintain your cat’s routine
The addition of a Roomba to your home is stress-inducing enough. Do not make matters worse by changing your cat’s routine and environment further.
Try to maintain your cat’s routine while operating the Roomba. Do not move your pet’s food and water bowls and continue playing with him like you usually do.
You should also be mindful of how you and your cat interact with the device. Your cat picks up your energy and how you react with the Roomba.
When the Roomba is in use, stay with your cat for the first few times. This will give your cat the reassurance that he needs. When the Roomba comes close to you, give it a little nudge with your feet or hands. This will show your cat that the device is nothing he should fear.
Roomba and your cat’s safety
The Roomba is equipped with sensors and safety features. For example, the device’s light sensor helps it avoid bumping into your unexpecting cat. The device also has auto-shutoff and anti-tangling features.
In short, you do not have to be afraid of the Roomba hurting your cat.
However, it is best to put the Roomba in another location when not in use. It is possible that your cat might attempt to attack the Roomba, causing damage to the device.
Observe your cat for a couple of days while operating the Roomba. If he has not gotten over with the addition of the device into your home, you should consult the veterinarian. His fear and aversion of the device can cause anxiety and stress. And when your cat is stressed, his body releases cortisol which can be detrimental to his long-term health.
Roombas can make the job of dealing with fur and other debris in your home an easy task. It is an added bonus if your cat accepts the device as a part of its living environment.
A confident cat will ride or simply ignore the Roomba while it is operating. However, you should carefully observe your cat if he is fearful of the device.
Getting your cat used to the presence of the Roomba is not an easy task. However, it is a critical job for you to prevent chronic stress in your pet.
Image: istockphoto.com / undefined undefined