Security blanket for a scaredy-cat?
September 14, 2019 2:56 PM   Subscribe

I bought a roomba a little while ago, and I love it. My cat, on the other hand, does not. She has two cat trees that she can hang out in, along with many chairs, benches and a sofa where she could stay away from it's evil clutches. Not good enough, as far as she's concerned.

When I'm not home, she's taken to curling up among the blankets in my linen closet on the lower floor of the house until it stops.

I don't mind her sleeping in there at all, but is there anything I can do to make the whole thing less scary?
posted by peppermind to Pets & Animals (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Paying the cat tax.
posted by peppermind at 3:10 PM on September 14, 2019 [7 favorites]

Maybe turn it off, and put some super treat on it (for instance, my cat is insane for tuna), so she has to come up to it to get the treat, thus becoming more familiar with it, but not being scared by its noise and motion (since its off).

Maybe do that periodically for a few days, leaving it off the whole time, then if she starts to get calm with it off, just run it for a few minutes, then back to off + treats. Then a few days of alternating short periods of on, then off + treats. Hopefully her tolerance for it will build up.
posted by Reverend John at 3:43 PM on September 14, 2019 [4 favorites]

The high-frequency sound might be obnoxiously-loud for her, even if she loses her fear of it.

Best of luck with the Scary Thing, Lulu.
posted by D.C. at 4:28 PM on September 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

Roombas are notorious for high frequency noise, and high frequency noise can cause seizures, especially in older cats:
Sharp high-pitched sounds have been found to cause seizures in older cats. The most commonly reported triggers were the sound of crinkling tin foil, a metal spoon clanging in a ceramic feeding bowl, chinking or tapping of glass, crinkling of paper or plastic bags, tapping on a computer keyboard or clicking of a mouse, clinking of coins or keys, hammering of a nail and even the clicking of an owner's tongue.
Mark Lowrie and Laurent Garosi from Davies Veterinary Specialists and Robert Harvey from the UCL School of Pharmacy, London, decided to investigate, and compiled a questionnaire for owners to complete. Working with International Cat Care, and using the interest generated by the media, the story went worldwide (dubbed 'Tom and Jerry syndrome' after the cartoon character Tom who has a strong startle reflex and often reacts with involuntary jerks to sound stimuli). They received hundreds of replies from across the globe from people who had noticed the same problem in their cats in response to certain types of sound. These owners had also found that their local vets had no information at all about it, and often did not believe that a sound had triggered the seizure!
posted by jamjam at 6:16 PM on September 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

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