I adopted my cat ~4 months ago from a shelter, he was a stray before. About a few days in, I did the terrible mistake of cleaning my room with a vacuum cleaner. In my defense, in the shelter they told me he's probably deaf because they didn't see him react to sounds. But soon it became very obvious to me my cat has normal hearing ability since he reacts to sounds in different rooms, outside, coming from my computer etc. Anyway, after I vacuumed my room, cat was acting very weird, he did not walk over the part of the floor I vacuum cleaned for about a week and residual anxiety was still present even after a month. He's doing perfectly fine now as far as I can tell, none of that anxiety remains. Clearly vacuum cleaner traumatized my cat and I don't want him to experience that again.

In the last few months I've been cleaning my room manually by sweeping etc. But it's essentially impossible to maintain it like this. My bed is covered with cat hair. It's affecting my social life because I'm embarrassed to invite anyone to my house since my carpet is covered in cat litter and hair and dust. I do sweep it manually, but it's not enough.

Unfortunately, my cat loves my room and he barely leaves my room. So there is no way to lure him out of my room and close the door. Even though my bedroom's door is open all the time he goes out very rarely. Also my housemates do not allow me to have litter box outside of my room, so my cat cannot be locked out of my room for extended periods of time.

My current plan is to lock my cat into bathroom with some food for about 30 mins-ish. Vacuum clean my room and take him back. I do not know if this is a good idea. I don't want to scar him again. Is there a better way to vacuum clean my room without scaring my cat. There is no other room in the house my cat frequents like my room, except the kitchen he walks around occasionally, but there is not way for me to "lock" him there since it's a big, open area.

Any tips are appreciated.

2 Answers 2


You have to clean your house, even if your cat gets a bit scared. Cats in general get over this in a short time.

Putting your cat in the bathroom while you clean your room is not a problem, but you need to be sure he has a litterbox, food and water.

If you get a cat tree, he will have a place to watch what is going on at the same time as he will feel safer than he might do now; cats like to have an elevated resting place.

Your cat might get more easily scared than other cats, but he will get over it as he gets to know you and the area better. I guess he was even more scared when you first got him.

  • Is a litterbox necessary even if it's going to take mere 30 mins? I'll put food and water but my housemates don't allow me to put litterbox anywhere outside my room. Also, cat does have access to elevated places, but when he gets scared he just goes under my desk, not to his elevated places. I'm ok him staying in the room, since when he gets scared he goes under the desk and just freezes (he never gets aggressive) but I don't want him to be traumatized. Feb 9, 2020 at 18:33
  • 1
    @petowner16725765 it depends on how scared your cat gets,it is possible for a cat to get so scared that it eliminates out of fear i am not saying this will happen but it is possible. Feb 9, 2020 at 21:06
  • Generally I agree, but rather than temporarily moving the box, I think it's better to gradually move the box to the room where the cat can be confined. Since cats get stressed out by things moving around, moving the box just during cleaning would probably be confusing and even more stressful to it.
    – Kai
    Feb 9, 2020 at 21:47
  • @Kai as noted in the question, I cannot permanently move the litterbox to somewhere else as my housemates do not allow me to do so. Feb 11, 2020 at 0:40

Do a bit, give a treat. Wait a day, do a bit more... give a treat. Talk as you do it. Make sure you are far from the preferred hiding spot, but visible. By not doing it, it can make it more scary. My cats hate it (I live in a bed sit) but they have seen me hoover my hand etc, have music on. Also stay calm. Sounds odd, but your fear that your cat will be scared can make things worse. If you are not scared, why should the cat be (eventually). But cats seriously overreact & react to smells. So maybe that patch smelt weird. Does your cat like catnip? You can get plug in things, but they never stop mine being crazy. Cats get used to things more easily than you think. They just need time. Your housemates will also stop planning on evicting the cat if the room is clean. That was my one rule as a tenant, to keep cat hair levels down.

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