Ivy and the Roomba

Back in 2015, a few days after I adopted Ivy the Wonder Cat, it was time for my weekly housecleaning.

When I turned on the vacuum cleaner, it was like a scene from a feline version of “The Exorcist”. My adorable little kitten turned into the devil’s child, hissing at the vacuum cleaner and at me for the horrendous ordeal that was underway.

In a house with wall-to-wall carpeting, it’s not like I could avoid the vacuum cleaner, just to keep Miss Ivy from turning into a horror movie villainess. When it came to cleaning, the show must go on.

She eventually learned to cope by disappearing to a quiet corner of the house until the vacuuming was finished and the vacuum cleaner was put away.

Despite the advice of online pet psychologists suggesting that some cats eventually make peace with vacuum cleaners, unfortunately, this wasn’t meant to be in my household.

Even on those occasions when I might leave the vacuum out to tend to something else, even if it wasn’t on, she would ever-so-apprehensively tiptoe around it and then bolt away like it was a sleeping predator.

When my partner and I moved to a house with dark hardwood floors throughout, little did I know the learning curve I would be facing. It was a blessing in disguise for Ivy as the vacuum cleaner was used less, in favour of other cleaning tools.

At first we used a dry mop to try to keep the floors clean. But given the amount of cat hair Ivy can shed multiplied by the square footage of the house, I could be outside to shake out the mop many many times over the course of a cleaning session. This wasn’t super practical when it was -30 degrees outside.

A few months later, I graduated to using a Swiffer which yielded impressive results in picking up dust and cat hair. But again, at the rate of Ivy’s hair loss, especially during peak shedding season, there were times when I could go through Swiffer cleaning cloths at a staggering rate.

I then discovered the Swiffer cloths specifically designed for collecting pet hair, made with fluffier material. I loved them as they were much more effective at keeping our floors looking quite nice.

Throughout these experiments, I think Ivy was the one who appreciated most our transition to a home with hardwood floors as it offered her a prolonged vacation from that monstrosity called the vacuum cleaner, which now only came out for a limited number cleaning tasks.

That being the case, she didn’t hiss at it anymore, but whenever we turned it on, she would take off at the speed of a wild animal in fight or flight mode.

The great irony is that it is because of her and the mini tornadoes of cat hair she leaves in her wake, that the floors need the regular attention that they receive.

But it only takes a beautiful morning sunrise through our picture window to clearly highlight the number of days since the last time the floors had been Swiffered.

The farther along I got into my retirement and the deeper I got in my writing projects, I started seeking ways to shave time and effort from my home maintenance routine.

Over the years, the idea of buying a Roomba occasionally came up but I was always apprehensive as to how Ivy would cope with a robotic vacuum cleaning the house, given her extreme disdain for my upright vacuum.

I decided to give it a try after seeing videos on YouTube and Instagram of cats actually taking a ride on a Roomba as it went about its business.

Could Ivy be one of those cats?

I knew that this likely wouldn’t be the case, but I was willing to give it a try anyway.

Fortunately, the Roomba for hardwood floors was on sale that week at Canadian Tire at 40% off. The reviews for the device were quite favourable, so we took the plunge.

The first time that the Roomba ran through the living room, Ivy awoke from a state of deep sleep to find out what that strange noise was. She remained on the staircase to watch it, trying to figure out who or what this new intruder was.

She came down the stairs and followed it around for a few seconds. She didn’t hiss, she didn’t get too close to it, but the idea that she might become one of those cats who would use it as a theme park ride quickly faded as she bolted up the stairs and resumed her nap.

Agree to disagree, peaceful coexistence, non-event… whatever it is in cat vernacular, I don’t think Ivy and the Roomba will ever be good friends.

But to my great relief, the new Roomba wasn’t the source of feline drama and trauma that I feared it could have been.

I am thrilled that it succeeded in helping me shave precious time from my home maintenance routine and, dare I admit, it seems to be doing a better job at it than I did!

Note: These comments are my own and neither Ivy nor I were compensated by the company for our thoughts on the robotic vacuum.

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Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,

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