Are Your Pets Curious or Afraid of Tech?

That’s our little troublemaker Eero up there investigating our new short term guest, the Mint robot floor cleaner. We’re in the process of putting the Mint through everyday household use for a review next week, but an amusing side note is how the Yves Behar designed robotic cleaner has become a popular focus of entertainment for our two cats.

We’ve heard of dogs howling at the use of dishwashers and cats chasing objects on television screens during video game playing. Earlier this year Sonia tested out the iRobot Roomba 530 and noted her cats were standoffish, but curious of the robotic vacuum. Others have captured video of their pets (mostly cats) riding aboard Roomba vacuums. Two of our favourites are the kitten-clumped video clip and also the one of a Roomba riding feline mix antagonizing a sweet and patient pitbull.

Then there are also pet tech devices like the Litter Robot, which some cats take to quickly, while others never trust the devices enough to use them. Our German Shepard growing up hated the sound of handheld vacuums, barking loudly anytime they were used, and one of our cats still hightails it whenever we use either the handvac or the canister around the house, while Eero suspiciously watches but doesn’t run away.

When we first introduced an automatic water fountain in the house, Eames cried worriedly for a few hours before we could ease his concerns about what might have seemed like a leak in the house. Thankfully both cats loved the automatic feeder, changing our lives forever (and improving their weight/health in the process).

So what to do about skittish pets and new tech or appliances in the home?

  • Acclimate your pets to the device. Open the box and leave it overnight and let your cat or dog explore at their own comfort level. Their tails will tell you exactly how they feel, so take note.
  • After an evening with the box open for loud volume devices like a vacuum, leave the appliance or device out in the open for them to touch and sniff. You’ve seen how cats and dogs often greet each others. Though this is an inanimate object, they’ll still likely want to give it a sniff and peek, and letting them get close will ease worries.
  • First time turning on the device, be sure to place your pet in another room where they won’t be directly startled by the sounds. There’s no quicker way to make your pet equate any device with stressful and frightening noises than scaring them.
  • Never force your pets to be in the same room when using the appliance. If your cat or dog doesn’t like your loud blender, let them relax somewhere else.
  • If by chance your pet is frightened accidentally while operating or turning on a device, be sure to pet/relax your pet immediately, perhaps offering a treat to let them know everything is okay.

Hopefully Fifi or Mr. Bigglesworth will quickly acclimate to any new device you bring into your home, but taking the steps above will insure the process will be as stress-free as possible. And in the best case, you might record your cat or dog with your new tech toy and create a whole new internet sensation.

Any stories or tips about how you acclimated your pet to a new home appliance or tech devices, whether for you or the pet?