questionsthree cats vs. washing machine - you pick the…

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Maybe you could prop it open, just a bit, with some magnetized doohickey? Or maybe there is something for childproofing that might work. Keep in mind, it doesn't have to be wide open and inviting, just cracked a bit.

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Here's a PITA, but workable idea: Get an inexpensive pedestal fan. When you've finished with the load, place the fan right smack in front of the open machine & turn it on for for the length of time the dryer runs. Two things will happen, hopefully.
1. The interior will dry rapidly and then you can close the washing machine door by the time the clothes in the dryer are finished & unloaded.
2. The fan being in front of the machine & turned on will discourage Naughty Paws & Company from camping out inside the drum.

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Ah, I like @lavikinga:'s idea even better, because it will kill 2 birds with one stone. Brilliant, actually.

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I'm going to get down voted for this, but here goes...

Turn the circuit breaker for the washer off and leave the washer open and on, set for the part of the cycle where the washer fills with water.

Put some tape or a chopstick or some such in the safety switch so that the washer "thinks" the door is closed.

(The above gives you a "remote control" way to turn on the washer, so you can turn it on without being near it.)

Wait for a cat to enter the washer. It is best if only one is able to do this, so distracting the others or locking them in another room is probably a good idea. It is important that the cat not associate a human with what is about to happen. Thus do not have someone watch the machine and then yell when the cat goes inside.

Once the cat has been in the washer for a good 15 to 20 seconds, turn on the washer for about ten seconds.

Repeat for the other cats.

I guarantee you won't have much trouble keeping the cats away.

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We own a set of front loading machines. If you leave it open, it doesn't mildew.

The cats either learn to stay out or out they go.

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@baqui63: it's probably worth mentioning a couple of things:
1. We aren't really thrilled with the idea of being cruel to our cats.
2. 2 of the 3 cats are D.U.M.B. They don't learn, even if something bad happens EVERY time they do something.
3. 1 of the dumb cats is also the MOST mischievous beings I've ever come across. Even if he absolutely knows it is forbidden, he will be in trouble and there will be consequences that he doesn't like, he will do it to get the joy out of being bad. I SWEAR this is how he operates.

@mtm2: the cats won't learn to stay out. in fact, they LOVE to drink any water that's sitting out, whether clean or with floating food. and this machine always has a tiny, tiny puddle on the big rubber door seal area. AND we aren't getting rid of our cats.

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@baqui63: Are you secretly my husband...because that sounds exactly like the sort of thing he would try and do. Although he wouldn't care if the cats saw him.

I would recommend something a little less drastic, like leaving the door open and laying in wait with a spray bottle - then squirting the cats if they tried to go in the washer. This reminds me that I once heard a horror story from a guy whose cat accidentally got stuck in the dryer for a few minutes - all I heard was "cold water enema" and that was enough to freak me out. The cat was fine in the end though thank goodness.

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@smtatertot13: Ah, didn't see your last response until after I posted. I have a new thought. What if you used a piece of string or bungee cord or something to rig the washer door so it won't open but a few inches? I think someone else mentioned possibly childproofing it. You could mount something on the side of the washer adjacent to the handle that you could attach the other end of the rig to so even if the cats tried to get in, they couldn't get the door open wide enough to fit. Then you could remove it to open the door yourself. There are tons of different types of things that have that removable mounting material that might work.

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@smtatertot13:

I don't see it as cruel. It is using the cat's natural aversion to a distasteful surprise to accomplish what you want.

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@mkdr:

Don't think so, unless we are in the midst of one of those inverted time travel stories (ala The Doctor and River Song).

If the cats see your husband or you using a water gun, it won't work. They have to associate the "bad machine spraying water on them" with the bad machine, not you or your husband. If the cats see you, they only learn to avoid the machine when you are around, meaning it is fair game when you are not.

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@baqui63: ah, I see how that would ruin the whole point. I have been lucky with my cats that they haven't really been bad so I haven't had to do much of that kind of training. Although I am on the market for a "bonus" kitten of yet to be determined temperament, so thanks for the clarification.

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@smtatertot13:

Also, you're anthopomorhizing your cats. He isn't really mischevious, because he isn't tryng to cause trouble, he's just playing. He doesn't know (in a strict sense of the word) what he should or shouldn't do.

Given that you've already stated that you don't want to be cruel, I'm willing to bet that you also don't discipline your cats as their mother would have done so (by slapping them around). (Note: I'm not suggesting that you should, or even could, discipline them in this way.) My point is this: they likely don't view your discipline as discipline, but rather as another form of play. This would certainly explain why the discipline is ineffective.

And gets back to the importance of no human involvment in the machine's sudden "attack" on them. They need to learn that the machine is a thing to stay away from all the time, just as they learn that wasps (eg. yellow jackets) are things to stay away from in the wild.

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Here's another crazy idea. You'll need the following:

a cheap suction cup with hook

a piece of string

a framed screen large enough to block the dryer opening (you can make from an old picture frame, screening material and tape or a stapler.)

Affix the suction cup on top of machine, attach the string to the hook and to the screen, & suspend screen over the opening, effectively allowing air flow to dry out machine and keeping Larry, Darryl & Darryl out of the washer.

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@mkdr:

I have had many cats and generally let them do what they want when they want. About the only rule I have is stay off the kitchen counters and (mostly) off the dining room table.

For example, I gave up long ago on the "don't climb the Christmas tree rule" as a sudden lond noise when the cat climbs into the bottom of the tree results in a "cat explosion" that is more damaging than just making sure that the tree can stay upright with a 14 pound cat climbing it. They rarely climb very high anymore anyway.

Same thing for them eating my house plants. I just make sure that what I grow isn't poisonous, or tastes very nasty and isn't easy to get to.

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What about leaving water in the washing machine with the door open. When the cat jumps up there he gets wet and runs like, like, a wet cat. A few days of this and the cats will learn washer=wet cat and never try it again.

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@baqui63: describe it as you will. there's 1 cat that does what he wants, specifically if he knows it will get him attention. YES, we give him PLENTY of positive attention. based on conversations I've had with other cat owners, i don't think i'm crazy in my understanding of him.

do we give them a good swat when they do something wrong? ABSOLUTELY. do we actively act to cause them full-on pain? NO. We're humane & love our cats, or we wouldn't bother adopting the poor kitties. Call us softies. Call us whatever you want. I won't feel bad for not causing our pets pain.

There have been at least a couple decent/great suggestions to this post that don't involve damage to the cats. I'm definitely going to be looking into them. In my original post, I didn't say anything about being humane, so thank you for your input. I will be looking into the more humane options as that's how we treat our pets. They are loved ones, not trained performers who live by iron rule.

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@caffeine_dude: if only that were the case...our cats LOVE sitting water. lord knows why. they will cuddle around it and drink it slowly all day to savor it. if we didn't shut them out of the bathroom for fear of EVERYTHING being covered in cat hair, they would (used to) hang out in the bathtub after showers, desperately hope you leave the toilet lid up (we don't!) and/or sit on the bathroom counter, just wishing on us brushing our teeth. Why they like standing water in random places better than the standing water in their water bowl, I'll never know lol

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Don't close the door...it will mildew.

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On an another message board today someone posted a suggestion that about keeping front loading washers dry and fresh-smelling without leaving the doors open. As I recall, it goes something like this:

1.) Dry the gasket and door as well as you can after finishing your wash.
2.) Place a small plastic bowl of baking soda into the washer.
3.) Close the washer door.

The baking soda is supposed to absorb any remaining dampness. The next time you do a load of towels, just toss the used baking soda in with the wash. It will freshen up the laundry and you replace it with a fresh bowl of baking soda.

I haven't tried this yet, but baking soda is the duct tape of household products, in my opinion, so I'm planning to give it a try. My laundry room with my new front loading washer is in the walk-through path from the back door to the kitchen and I HATE leaving the washer door open there.

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@smtatertot13:

I believe you misread what I wrote, especially since you are implying that my suggestion is not humane or will somehow damage the cats.

Note that I at no point suggested closing the door with the cat inside the machine. I wrote specifically to rig the door so that the machine would run with the door open. Once the cat is in the machine, you turn on the water for a few seconds WITH THE DOOR OPEN (so that the cat can run).

I'd say this is more humane that swatting the cat, which BTW, I don't suggest using as correction since most cats will view it as a game unless you are hitting hard enough to be cruel. A water gun is much more effective (unless you have a cat that likes water).

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@belyndag: sounds great. i assume you could use any number of things - baking soda, rice, etc. hmm...

@baqui63: cats love water. at least the 3 we've been blessed with do. 2 of the 3 greet a water gun with open mouths and playtime. It is our burden lol

the washer door actively locks (you can hear the BIG click) upon starting a load. How would one fool something that has censors everywhere?

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@smtatertot13:

The door cannot lock if the door is not closed.

There is likely one switch, probably a push button, that tells the washer that the door is closed. Actuate said button using tape and a folded up piece of paper or a piece of a chopstick or whatever and it will serve to fool the washer into thinking its door is closed.

However, if your cats actually like being sprayed with water, this whole train of thought may be moot.

@lavikinga's idea of a screen may be the simplest and least intrusive suggestion above.

Good luck with it whatever you decide to do.

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@smtatertot13: Actually, I would stick with baking soda. Rice might absorb some of the moisture, but I believe that baking soda will also freshen up any lingering odors, as it does with refrigerators and freezers.

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@baqui63: I expect I'll try both the screen option and the baking soda-ish option. most unobtrusive for us and the cats.

Thanks to everyone for your input so far. please feel free to continue to add your opinions!

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@belyndag: as far as freshening laundry, yes, of course, baking soda is the best option on that list. I'm not all that worried about freshening the laundry as i have a number of products at home that take care of that part. the beauty of baking soda or rice is that the cats can't get sick (from my understanding) from either option in the event they break into the washer and eat a mouthful. (baking soda/rice doesn't hurt cats, right?) gotta love that.

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My cat (and my parents cats) completely ignore the washing machine. I also have a front loader in a small closet, like you. I am able to leave the door open and dry it out, but if you know your cats could get in there then its not the best idea.
I'd suggest wiping the gasket down with a vinegar/water solution, drying it and then do the soda (good idea btw, I need to do it!)
A possible way to deter the cats from the area is to use the anti scratching spray or double sided tape in the area right in front of the washer. Cats HATE things on their paws and will avoid areas where they can't see what it was but that they hate it.
(^ Much more humane and less likely to cause serious injury to the cat and damage to the washer by turning it on when the cat is in it. Door open or not, that's a pretty bad/risky way to change an animals behavior. @baqui63, your intentions may be well meant, but more could go wrong than right.)

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@smtatertot13: lol your cats think they are agile dogs!