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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've heard that kittens shouldn't be shielded from household noises (vacuums, LOUD washing machines, flushing toilet, etc.)

I'm wondering, however... if/when a person operates something (like a washing machine)... should the person then go into the bathroom (which is adjoining the laundry room, but a closed door separating the two) and comfort the kittens?

My thoughts are no... because then the kittens would associate the normal noise as "scary" or that if they hear the noise, their dad will come in to "rescue" them.

Or does avoiding the kitties during this time make the matter worse?

Thanks for any input. :)
 

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I try never to make a big deal out of stuff like that. If they are afraid and you start cooing and cuddling, imo, it reinforces that behavior.

If either of mine look scared at something loud I've done I'll either completely ignore it or make it happen again and talk to them like "Woohoo, that was LOUD." in a singsong voice. That usually calms both of my right down.
 

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I take it you have not yet adopted your kittens. When you first adopt and bring the new kittens home, it will be a stressful first few days for them, so I would tend to keep the noise to a minimum during those initial few days. I'm not suggesting you walk around on tip-toes, but I wouldn't be hauling out the vacuum cleaner on Day 1 either!

After a few days, the kittens should be ready and happy to explore the rest of the house (assuming you have no other pets that you need to worry about introducing). So, at that point, the kittens will presumably no longer be locked in the bathroom. I would then just go about your normal business and not make a big deal out of things.

As an aside, I have two cats. Abby was very well socialized and was accustomed to household noises when I adopted her at about 10 weeks of age. She's never worried about noises, although she still runs and hides when I haul out the vacuum cleaner! Muffs was not well socialized as a kitten and was scared of household noises when I first adopted her at 12 weeks of age. I used the above-described approach and she slowly got used to the typical noises (took a few months). Interestingly, Muffs is now fascinated by the vacuum cleaner...she follows me around from room to room and watches whenever I'm using it.
 

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I guess it depends on the age. I got lucky, my breeder's kittens are raised from birth and live in an enclosure with their mom in the dining area of the kitchen, so they hear everything, dishwasher, vacuum, and all household activity from birth, so everything is natural to them.
 

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Nebbie still runs and hides from the vacuum. Paizly cowers in her bed when it comes near (closer than 5 feet), but stays put and waits it out.

When I brought in some feral kittens who were 4 or 5 months old one girl was TERRIFIED of the flushing toilet (especially if she happened to be right by the bathroom when I flushed), but eventually got over it. Zinny (that kitten's sister) still gets startled, but only for an instant and then realizes "oh, it's only that one noise, it won't hurt me".
The other sister, Disco, actually seemed interested in the vacuum. Granted, she wouldn't follow me around when I did it (though I know another cat that would do that!), but she would sit in the cat condo and watch curiously.

I usually just act normal and don't shield or coddle them. If they realize that there's no real harm, eventually they'll pretty much ignore most noises just like you do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all for the input. It seems like a general consensus to just keep things "business as usual" (of course, not running the vacuum right near the on DAY ONE! LOL) :)
 

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I agree with the vacuum thing. :p Ideally the baby/babies would be confined to a smaller room until they are more comfortable anyway.

I waited about a week to run the vacuum after bringing home shepherd Book. He has NO fear of it though. He kept following it around and jumping on it..... Demon. Spawn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I agree with the vacuum thing. :p Ideally the baby/babies would be confined to a smaller room until they are more comfortable anyway.

I waited about a week to run the vacuum after bringing home shepherd Book. He has NO fear of it though. He kept following it around and jumping on it..... Demon. Spawn.
ROFL! You may need an old priest and a young priest! ;)
 

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I just had a thought. How about running the vacuum in a distant part of the house so that the noise is a bit more subdued and not as startling. It might be more of a curiosity, or just an easy way to ease him in to it.

or let the vacuum run in another part of the house for a couple minutes and go play with kitty while it's still making noise, just kind of blending in with regular stuff.
 

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Sammy is 6, has always been an indoor cat and still hates the sound of the vacuum. Whenever it comes out, he hides! I'd say not to specifically give them attention, as it may reinforce them to be scared.
 
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