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Cats on Roombas: A Strange Relationship Explained

orange cat riding a roomba or robotic vacuum
Image Credit: Sharomka, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Ed Malaker

Cats make great companions, are playful, and often engage in strange behaviors, such as riding on a Roomba, which is an automatic indoor vacuum. If your cat does this and you would like to know more about this behavior and why they enjoy it, read on! We provide several possible reasons and discuss how you can keep your cat safe.

Click below to jump ahead:

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How Did a Cat on a Roomba Become Popular?

The internet has plenty of adorable animal content, but the phenomenon of cats on Roombas is truly something special. Videos of this content often spread quickly across social media platforms. The combination of the cat’s graceful movements and the Roomba’s robotic technology creates a surprising contrast that is fun to watch and often leads to comical situations that can brighten anyone’s day.

black sphynx cat riding a roomba or robot vacuum at home
Image Credit: Marykor, Shutterstock

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Why Do Cats Like to Ride Roombas?

Territory Surveying

Cats enjoy looking over their territory, which is why they enjoy cat perches. The Roomba enables them to move around in their territory and survey it from ever-changing angles without expending energy. This benefit is likely extremely appealing to your pet.

Predatory Instincts

Cats are natural hunters with strong predatory instincts, and the movement of a Roomba, with its subtle vibrations and unpredictable path, can trigger a cat’s hunting behavior. The vacuum’s motion resembles that of a small animal, stimulating a cat’s curiosity and predatory drive.

curious sphynx cat inspecting a roomba or robot vacuum
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Movement and Noise

The movement and noise produced by a Roomba can be captivating to cats. Its smooth gliding and the gentle hum of its motor can intrigue cats and make them feel like they’re interacting with a live creature.


Cats are playful animals that enjoy engaging with their environment. The Roomba’s movements can provide an opportunity for play, and some cats might see it as a moving toy to interact with. Cats may pounce on the Roomba, bat at it, or follow it as if participating in a game.


Cats are famously curious animals, and any new object or movement in their environment will likely capture their attention, leading them to investigate and interact with it.

curious kitten standing on a roomba or robot vacuum
Image Credit: Roman Pyshchyk, Shutterstock

Heat and Comfort

Some Roomba models generate heat while in operation. Cats like to seek out warm spots for comfort, and the warmth emitted by a running Roomba might make it an appealing place to sit for a while.

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Why a Cat Might Not Want to Ride a Roomba


Roombas emit a consistent noise while in operation. Some cats are naturally more sensitive to loud or unusual sounds and may become fearful or anxious when a Roomba is running.

Unpredictable Movements

While the unpredictable movements of a Roomba can be captivating to some cats, they can be unsettling to others. Cats are creatures of habit and often prefer routines and predictability.

Cat hunting to toy mouse at home
Image Credit: Viacheslav Lopatin, Shutterstock

Invasion of Space

Cats are territorial animals, and a Roomba moving around in their territory can be an intrusion. If your cat views the Roomba as a potential threat to their territory, they may respond with fear or aggression.

Personality and Temperament

All cats have unique personalities. Some cats are more confident and curious, while others are shy and introverted. A cat’s temperament will greatly influence how they respond to the presence of a Roomba in their environment.

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How Can I Ensure That My Cat Is Safe Around a Roomba?


Always supervise your cat while they’re on the Roomba to prevent accidents and ensure that the cat isn’t stressed or scared.

Secure Placement

Make sure the cat is positioned securely on the Roomba while still being able to step off easily if they want to.

Positive Association

Associate the Roomba with positive experiences for the cat. You can use treats or toys to create a positive connection with the machine to help them feel more comfortable.

Stress Avoidance

If your cat appears uncomfortable or stressed, it’s best to stop the Roomba and allow them to dismount. Doing so can help them understand and trust that they aren’t trapped, and you can try again later.

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How Can I Get My Cat to Try to Ride on a Roomba?

  • To get your cat on a Roomba, introduce it to your cat in a calm and controlled environment. Place the Roomba in a stationary position with the motor turned off, and let your cat sniff and investigate it to help them become familiar with it before it starts moving.
  • Create positive associations with the Roomba by offering treats, praise, and pets whenever your cat is near it.
  • Turn on the Roomba without your cat sitting on it, and let them observe it in motion from a distance. Observe your cat’s reactions, and turn it off if they show signs of anxiety or fear.
  • Place a mat or a soft blanket on the Roomba to create a comfortable and familiar surface for your cat to sit on to help make it seem more inviting and less intimidating.
  • Gently place your cat on the Roomba while it’s stationary and turned off. Allow your cat to get used to being on it without movement, and continue to use treats and positive reinforcement to create a positive experience.
  • Once your cat is comfortable on the stationary Roomba, turn it on, and let it move for short durations. Hold your cat securely to help them feel safe during the movement. Gradually increase the duration of the rides as your cat becomes more accustomed to the motion.
  • Always pay close attention to your cat’s body language and behavior. If your cat seems stressed, scared, or uncomfortable, stop the Roomba immediately and provide reassurance. Never force your cat to stay on the Roomba if they want to get off.
  • Ensure that your cat is secure on the Roomba and cannot fall off.
  • If your cat shows fear or discomfort, respecting their feelings is important. Not all cats will enjoy riding a Roomba. Forcing the experience can lead to stress and anxiety and reduce their chance of ever liking it.
  • Always end each training session positively with treats, praise, and affection to help your cat associate the experience with positive outcomes and can cause them to look forward to the next session.

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While some cats can be afraid of the Roomba, many cats enjoy playing with them. Many cats will even get on them and take rides around the house. These machines likely activate the cat’s strong prey drive while chasing and playing with it, and they also enjoy the free ride around the house to look over their territory. Most Roombas also provide warmth.

Always supervise your cat while they get used to the Roomba to ensure that they aren’t frightened or injured. Start slow, and use positive reinforcement to train your cat to ride it. If you have several cats, you can purchase several Roombas and start a Cats on Roombas video series on social media!

Featured Image Credit: Sharomka, Shutterstock

About the Author

Ed Malaker
Ed Malaker
Ed Malaker is a veteran writer who has contributed to a wide range of blogs that cover tools, pets, guitars, fitness, and computer programming. When he’s not writing, Ed is usually performing DIY projects around the house or working in the garden. He’s also a musician and spends a lot of time helping people fix their guitars and composing music for independent films.

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