Why is my cat terrified of the dishwasher?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – my cat is scared to death of the dishwasher. I have no idea why. What should I do?


Janet B.


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote that your cat is frightened of the dishwasher. I have no idea why certain cats develop paticular fears. Most of them are electronic appliances that make loud noises.

I have a cat that is scared of the vacuum cleaner and have no idea why. I’ve known him since he was a kitten and I KNOW he was never traumatized by the vacuum.

Really – all you can do is take special care not to scare your cat by when you run the dishwasher. Put your cat in another room when you start it or best yet, start it when you are with your cat playing or while he or she is purring on your lap while you are in another room (let someone else start it). When you hear the dishwasher in the distance – give your cat positive reinforcement if he or she doesn’t react. If your cat keeps playing – then continue playing!

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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