Story: Nature abhors a vacuum, and so do my dogs and cats

This past weekend, we had human guests for dinner, and my husband Brian and I  thought it best to try and remove the dog fur tumbleweeds, cat fur drifts and dust capybaras from our floors before my cousin and his wife arrived.

If it was me, I’d have taken a broom and dustpan and done a comprehensive sweeping. If I felt a little more motivated, I might have even gotten out the dust mop and swept under the hard-to-reach places where crinkle balls and fuzzy mice lurk. I may have pulled the Swiffer out of the depths of the broom closet and washed the floors.

But I was busy baking a cheesecake and throwing together a salad–my contribution toward the evening’s chow–and the dust and fur removal task was assigned to Brian. Brian, whose philosophy toward fixing, cleaning and general maintenance might be described as, “When in doubt, use a power tool.” Which, in this case meant using a vacuum cleaner to clean the kitchen floor.

For twenty minutes, our home was filled with the distinctive voice of our Dyson Animal as it growled over the porcelain tiles, moaning and groaning as it sucked in bushels of fur strewn hither and yon by the three dogs and four cats of the house. The sound of chair legs scraping across the floor contributed to the cacophony as Brian moved furniture in order to attack the fur gobs hiding beneath the rungs and under the table.

While all this was going on, the prime donors of said fluff and fur had, for the most part, escaped to the far reaches of the house.

Except for Athena, who, like the Chance, the gardener in the movie Being There, liked to watch. Or maybe she was serving in a supervisory capacity. You never know with cats.

Cat in the kitchen

Athena on her throne, supervising the cleaning–and the cooking.

When the banging and the roaring was finished, the gang slowly reappeared, looking forward, I’m sure, to redecorating the house with the appropriate amount of dog and cat fur.

The dogs came down from the top of the stairs, where they had sought refuge from the Vacuum Beast.

Is he done vacuuming?

Is he done yet?

Calvin ventured up from his basement lair.

Cat hiding behind door

Is he done?

(Note: the boxes that Calvin is hiding behind are there to keep the basement door open just wide enough to let cats through so they can go downstairs and use the litter box, and yet narrow enough to keep dogs from attempting to squeeze through and eat the “treats” often found in said litter box.)

Cat wants to know if it's safe to come out.

Is it safe to come out?

Slowly come out from the basement

It’s not coming back, is it?

Elsa Clair slept through it all and Dawn is probably still hiding under the bed.

Sleeping kitty

Nothing disturbs Elsa Clair.

Peace reigned once more in the house–or as much peace as can reign in a life with cats and dogs.

Until my cousins pulled into the driveway– causing massive amounts of barkage and sending cats scattering like pearls from a broken necklace.

How do you pets feel about the vacuum cleaner? Fun toy to ride on like a Roomba? Or terrifying creature from the dark?



19 Comments on "Story: Nature abhors a vacuum, and so do my dogs and cats"

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  1. Hahaha! Dust capybaras! I’ll have to remember that one.

    Our dogs are really odd with the vacuum beast. Our bombproof therapy dog, Sid, will get up and leave the room, however comfortable he is, while Jeffie – our nervous nellie, who is scared of almost everything and bewildered by the things he isn’t scared of – stays put and lets us vacuum right under his paws. He just watches with an expression of mild interest.

    Or perhaps it’s a state of catatonic shock and he literally can’t move? Nah. He’s absolutely fine with it!

  2. I love those photos! These guys are pretty nonchalant about vacuums. Torrey will sleep through the whole thing,while Roxy just watches from the chair.

  3. slimdoggy says:

    Great story – gotta love Elsa Clair – so zen. My guys pretty much ignore it. Sally used to play with it – bark and bite at it, but the rest just ignore it.

  4. easy rider says:

    I like the three doggies on the top of the stairs. I always try to attack that noisy monster what eats all my crumbs from the floor.

  5. Hmmm… I think that maybe Athena drew the short staw. Or mouse’s tail, if you know what I mean.


    • Nissy, that is a very wise theory. Though truth be told, I think Athena always draws the short tail. Either someone’s messing with her, or she likes the thrill of supervision; she’s not telling either way. 😉

  6. We hate the rug sucking monster! We run when it comes out of the closet.

  7. The cats don’t care about it. Hailey will occasionally try and grab the end and Phod hides.

  8. Sandy says:

    Love your picture of the dogs : ) and of lovely Athena. Toby runs when the vacuum cleaner comes out and obviously takes no blame for the fur flying around the floors.

    • Thanks! She certainly refers to herself as “the lovely Athena.” I think the dogs and cats of my household believe they are contributing to the esthetic by donating their extra fur. Everyone (and everything) looks better with a little cat fur on it!

  9. Beverly Willett says:

    Cute story and pictures with the vacuum cleaner!

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