SHOP PRODUCTS
Houzz Logo Print
cwurch

Help! How to Stop Our Cat from Destroying Our Washing Machine!

cwurch
3 months ago

We recently got a cat and never thought we would have this crazy dilemma! We bought a LG Washtower (front loader) about two years ago and installed cabinets around it because our laundry room is in our mud room, which is consistently walked through from our garage to our house. The traditional washing machine set up is so tight so I was really excited to reno the space.

We adopted a cat back in May and since then he has eaten through two washing machine gaskets (boots) when we accidentally forgot to close the washing machine door (which really needs to stay open consistently in order to dry out). After he destroyed our first gasket (a $400 replacement bill…) we purchased a gizmo from Amazon to keep the door open - within three weeks the stupid cat figured out how to fling it open and proceeded to destroy the replacement gasket.

I’m really trying to find a solution to this problem because the kids love him and no shelters are accepting cats at this time. I’m wondering if anyone has found a more cat-proof way of keeping the washing machine door open but keeping the cat out? I’ve googled, and a lot of people suggest the gizmo that we tried (which was a huge fail!) I’ve thought of some kind of baby gate up against the machine which would have to be removed entry time we do laundry, but I don’t think that would work. Any suggestions would be very helpful - this has caused a huge amount of stress and angst in our household!

Comments (44)

  • cwurch
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Here are a couple of photos of our set up. On the left of the cabinets is the garage door and the other door leads to the rest off the house.

  • whirlpool_trainee
    3 months ago

    Maybe two suction cups and a rubber band; one attached to the door, the other to the side of the washer?

  • Related Discussions

    Cat Threw Up In The Washing Machine!

    Q

    Comments (13)
    thanks nancy_drew, I will ask the vets about that Petromalt. They are both due for a checkup anyway. So they will have a shave and a checkup (2 bits! haha, sorry). dorisl, DH felt the same way about cats.. Until he got his own. He was a dog person to the max, but a dog would not be practical for us with our lifestyle right now. I kept at him for about 6 years to get a cat... Every time he asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I said "A kitten!" Then he would ask me what ELSE I wanted... And I would say... "A kitten!". Finally he told me a co-worker's cat was having kittens. So of course I pushed my luck and said "Now I want TWO kittens! His and Hers kittens!" So we ended up each picking out a kitten. Needless to say, the one I picked out became DH's cat, and the one he picked out became my cat. And my formerly dog-preferring, cat-disliking DH is completely besotted with his cat now. He talks to that cat constantly, shops for treats and toys, insists on being the one to feed the cats... I guess what I am saying is: Never say never to a cat. :-)
    ...See More

    how to stop neighbours cat entering cat flap

    Q

    Comments (11)
    4 indoor/outdoor cats in this house. The only place food is available is INSIDE. And a human has to open the door to access it. I know it's not going to make your lives easier, but I'd keep the flap "buttoned up" when you're not there to monitor who is "chowing down". I've read some pretty funny stories about wildlife that has shown up a the feed trough at odd hours. My own experience has been that they've brought in live prey items... lol, I found a fully viable Chippie on a pile of laundry some weeks ago, have also dealt with a Blue Jay, a snake, and a vole. Took me 2 hrs. to convince Chippie to go back outdoors. We feed in the morning, and let them out if they want to go out. When I get home about 2PM they have the option of another snack but rarely avail themselves of it. By 5-7PM they're hungry. When they come in for dinner, they're in for the night. Generally speaking, you can predict their return. Cats are smart and you can train them. The only thing that is sort of tough here is the changing the clocks... but within a day, they're on to the next schedule. I don't mind being a "doorman". In the long term, it's just easier.
    ...See More

    HELP - our 'adopted' outdoor cat won't user her home

    Q

    Comments (20)
    I would consider installing a cat flap on a basement window and setting up an indoor enclosure for her in the basement that you could also access for cleaning or checkin up on her - is there a room or something you could block off with a door? Or if you have animals in the barn that would help keep it warm in there - put cat flap on the barn. It would be much more comfy in the long run for the kitty if she could have a comfy warm space somewhere -those winter nights get so long! She was obviously once someone's pet - she may not be cold so much as just wanting to be sociable and be inside with people. If she had been born a true feral you would not be able to get close to here without being shredded. Have you asked around to see if anyone's missing a cat? Of course it could be someone dumped her but you shouldnt assume that - its just as possible someone is heartsick at having lost her. (Im speaking as someone whose cat went missing for 6 wks)
    ...See More

    Neighbor’s balcony extension destroys our privacy

    Q

    Comments (107)
    Someone mentioned the clumping bamboo. We lived in LA and had an old ranch house torn down on the uphill property behind ours. They put up a 2-story house that looked like 3-stories from our rear patio that was downhill from them. We quickly removed some lemon trees we had planted in the back and replaced them with Bambusa Oldhamii. We bought 24" boxes that were already around 16 ft tall. It only took a couple of years, with some extra watering and feeding, and we quickly had a 40 ft hedge. We were able to completely block the new house. It is a clumping bamboo and can be controlled by cutting new shoots or the older taller ones.
    ...See More
  • A Mat
    3 months ago

    Closethe door, prevent access.

  • cwurch
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    I was thinking bungee cord, but hadn’t thought about suction cups - interesting idea! Thanks!

    We are trying to keep the door closed but with a busy family of 5, it’s inevitable that someone will forget to close the door!

  • cwurch
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Oooohhh… thinkdesignlive - you’ve got my wheels turning! You should see the bottom of my Christmas tree - it’s completely wrapped with tinfoil!! I’ll keep thinking about your suggestions, and thanks for the kind words. I could never throw him out - he really is sweet and has provided glue for our family (amongst all the stress!!)

  • blueskysunnyday
    3 months ago

    If you consistently leave the washer door closed, I’m worried you will develop a stinky washer. It needs to dry out.

  • PRO
    AiFL
    3 months ago

    Have you looked for some kind of rubber chew toy to distract him with? Maybe more dog aisle than cat aisle, but it would give him the satisfaction of chewing without the awkwardness of having to get into the washer to do it (in the vein of having scratching posts in the house so they scratch that instead of furniture).

  • glaserberl
    3 months ago

    Spray the gasket with bitter apple spray? I don't think the spray would harm the rubber but research that first. Here is Bitter apple spray

    Or you could try https://www.amazon.com/PetSafe-KIT19001-SSSCAT-Spray-Deterrent/dp/B000RIA95G

    Or a scat mat close to the washer Scat mat


  • Sherry8aNorthAL
    3 months ago

    Buy a cat scratcher. I liked the cardboard ones. and put by the washer. Keep it closed or latched for a bit until he gets used to using the scratcher.

  • cwurch
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Again, thanks for all of your great ideas!

    Stax- I don’t see a link - would you mind reposting that?

    Our cat has lots of toys and a scratching post, but I will try moving that a bit closer to the washing machine.

    The only time he seems to go after the gasket is when he’s there overnight or for a longer period of time (when we have friends over with allergies, etc). That’s when he gets bored (despite the numerous toys I throw in the room for him). It’s a non issue when the washing machine door is closed, but we have to keep it open to air it out! The dilemma is when we put him in and forget to close the washing machine door!

  • Iluvdark kychns
    3 months ago

    do your scratch posts have a catnip smell? If not try to bring that into the house to distract the cat. I agree about keeping the door open. It's why I hate front loaders. I always kept mine open and in the small living space I had I would always knock into it. You could just make it a habit of wiping out both the drum and the gasket after each use and maybe throw in some charcoal pillows and/or place a box of baking soda between uses. Kind of PITA but I'm sure your new for baby is worth it.

  • Sherry8aNorthAL
    3 months ago

    No window? Is there another space with a window? If you had a window with a bird feeder, it would give him something to do.


  • cwurch
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Iluvdark kychns - thanks for your suggestion, but I do wipe it out and dry every single time! It still stays so damp 🙄 . I’ll look into charcoal pillows and baking soda. I know this is a huge problem for front loaders, but I still really want to make this all work for us!

    And no window, unfortunately!

    Our current plan is to get him out of the laundry room and maybe put him in our (finished) basement when we need to go out. He’s still quite young and curious so we don’t trust him with the run of the house yet. However, we still need to find a solution to the washing machine issue because he will still have access when someone forgets to close the door!

  • Iluvdark kychns
    3 months ago

    I should've mentioned in my
    post, you can also look into silica beads. You can get the rechargeable kind. Pour them in a bowl and place them inside. they will lose their blue color when they've absorbed all the water they can absorb. Then you recharge them by placing them by a heater or outside in the sun.

    When I had my front loader, the gasket was really difficult to dry out. There were all these deep ridges that I had to wipe down. So I get what you're saying.

  • Stax
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    I tried!

  • dadoes
    3 months ago

    The gasket (tub boot) isn't the only concern regards to moisture and abating mold. The door should be left ajar even if the boot is wiped dry. The dispenser drawer also should be left ajar.

  • MizLizzie
    3 months ago

    Cats really dislike certain scents, and citrus is one of them. Most cats will avoid, say, orange or lemon peels. I have pinned them to my sofa arms to train cats not to scratch the upholstery. But it needs to be real citrus oil, not fake air freshener oil. A strong smell would be torture to the poor little guy, but maybe just a drop or two of lemon oil on an old sock tossed inside would be enough? If it went through a wash cycle, no big deal. So long as you remember to get it out of the dryer, reapply oil, and toss it back in.


    With regard to WT’s idea, our Maytag door is hinged on the left. I have two clear Command Hooks on it. One mounted sideways near the handle on the door with the hook pointing left. And one lateral to it, on the right side, with the hook pointing right. I stretch a medium length rubber band from one hook to the other so that the door is pulled within 1” of being closed. But. If the band is too strong, you could get odor. If the band is too weak, your little guy will get it open. You could use a shoelace or bit of chain, maybe.


    I do commend you for working so hard to find a solution. Pets are forever.

  • blueskysunnyday
    3 months ago

    The other day I was zesting a lemon or lime (can’t remember) and my cat’s reaction when I started was immediate and intense. He HATED it. I think the citrus oil idea is a good one.

  • cejhome
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Try bitter apple spray for pets (its made to prevent them from chewing on stuff). You can buy it off Amazon or some pet supply stores. I used this when we had a cat years ago that loved sinking his fangs in the hose of my husband's CPAP machine. One taste and he left it alone. I didn't need to reapply after a few times. Since its as gasket, and the stuff is a spray, I'd take some cheap latex gloves (or just put your hand in a plastic bag, spray some on a paper towel or something like that and carefully wipe a little on the gasket exterior. You don't need to saturate it. The smell is usually good enough to stop them. Don' t use any oils - those can be toxic to cats. They are very sensitive to things like that.


    Do you have a better option for your kitty to be shut in when you have guests, etc? A small laundry room is not good for a young active cat. Your cat needs a better space. Do you have any rooms with windows? A basement that doesn't have any dangerous things in it would be okay - make sure you leave a light on. I used to pet sit, and you'd be surprised with some of the stuff I saw. The basement needs to be a comfortable place - not a cold/dark unfinished type basement. Have a litter box where ever you need to shut him in. You can try to give him some treats before hand, so he hopefully will think that space is a good place to be.

  • cwurch
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Thanks for all these great suggestions! I will definitely try this spray. We sprayed our Christmas tree with a mix of lemon juice and water and he left that alone, so maybe this bitter spray will do the trick! I’m assuming I would have to reapply after each laundry day?

  • cejhome
    3 months ago

    I would say yes, just a tiny bit should do - even a drop or two should keep him away. Of course there are some pets it won't work for, but it worked for both cats we have had issues with in the past.

  • beesneeds
    3 months ago

    Try remembering you have a cat. It is alone, isolated, bored. Even with toys in the room, cats get lonely without a companion, bored with being locked up for hours. Then you forget the cat is there and leave the washer door open. It's not their fault you locked them up alone with something you know tempts them into messing with it.

    Why are you locking it up? You say you don't trust it alone in the house and it has to be locked up at night... why? It's been months, what is the cat doing that you don't trust it when you aren't around? Is it a part time kitty that's only out when it's playtime, and locked up otherwise? Have you not been training it all these months so it can be out without having to be watched?

  • morz8 - Washington Coast
    3 months ago

    My neighbor had two persian cats and when she rescued a third, one of the former began spraying her $$$$ carpet under her dining room table. I think what she used on it was Boundary Cat Spray and we would watch that cat leap from the kitchen doorway across the corner of the dining room into the living room...anything to avoid even touching that sprayed carpet. It didn't smell bad to our noses and did not stain. You might find you had to use it often on something that would be removed on laundry day, unless spraying a little on the housing outside the door itself would be enough. I used Critter Ridder spray on my outdoor porch planters to keep cats from digging in those, but I see the new formula doesn't mention indoor use.

    Of course changing the behavior might be best of all, I don't know how much time you have during the day/night or exactly what is prompting kitty to be so destructive but I suspect boredom. We've never restricted or closed off a cat, which is not to say they did nothing destructive when in that 'tweener' (in between kitten and cat) stage....

  • MizLizzie
    3 months ago

    I second turning him loose at this stage so he can burn off some energy and sleep with the kids. Young cats will get into mischief and to some extent, it has to be tolerated. The most important things are to ensure you have no poisonous houseplants, no danging curtain cords, keep the litter box extremely, extremely clean, make sure the kids don’t allow him to play rough and develop bad “fighty—bitey“ habits, and watch to be sure he doesn’t chew electrical cords — bitter apple can be really helpful for that. Our current cat was semi-feral and came to us at 2+ years of age, and he is a perfect angel . . . unless you want to play. Then the claws come out and he plays for keeps. Heaven help me.

  • beesneeds
    3 months ago

    I wouldn't recommend using an animal scent deterrent in an enclosed room. It can work to an extent in an open part of the house that they can avoid. It's not nice to the animal, but it can work. In a small enclosed room there is no way they can escape that scent, they are trapped with it. That's just frigging cruel to do that to an animal, and punishing it terribly for no good reason. Rehome the cat before doing that.

  • morz8 - Washington Coast
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    beesneeds, if you meant me, I said nothing about closing the laundry room door. If I were going to close it, it might be to keep the cat out and my machine safe from a large repair bill, not keep cat in. The repellent can be a safe humane way of keeping a pet away from something you don't want them damaging, not intended as a cruel step towards an animal who can't get away from the scent.

    BTW, the cats digging in my oversized front porch planters were not mine. I don't object to cleaning up after my own animals, I resent having to clean up after those belonging to someone else.

  • maymay99
    3 months ago

    Be careful with silica beads as he could swallow them.

  • beesneeds
    3 months ago

    Morz8, I did mean you. The whole point of the OP is keeping the cat from chewing while the door is closed with the cat alone inside the room. So suggesting scent deterrent would mean it's there while the cat is in the room with the door closed.

  • Susanne Woolley
    3 months ago

    Maybe a physical barrier like a cover or even a pillowcase that could be slipped over the entire open door? Maybe add a drawstring that could be cinched to tighten the end at the hinge side to keep it in place. A breathable cotton might be adequate in helping moisture evaporate. That might keep the cat from being able to get to the rubber?

  • cwurch
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Hi Everyone!

    Again, thank you for all of your ideas and input! This is our first cat experience (after sadly saying good bye to our 16 year old Shit Zhu in March), so we’re still trying to adjust to the interesting antics (and expensive!) antics of a feline.

    We are in the process of moving him out of the laundry room, but are still struggling to know where to keep him for the night. If we allow him to roam, he wakes us all up at all hours of the night by scratching at the carpet by our bedroom doors. If we keep the doors open, he thinks 3 am is a perfectly fine playtime!

    As previously noted, we are going to try to keep the laundry room door closed, but it will be a challenge due to the location. Using an oil or some sort of deterrent will only be used to help keep him away from the gasket in case he gets into the machine.

  • armjim
    3 months ago

    Our very beloved rescue beagle passed away back in October. It was sudden and we only had two weeks with him when he was diagnosed with a fatal tumor the day we found out something was wrong. I am still grieving after nearly 3 months. We could let him have the run of the house and leave him for the evening to go out. Not so the rescue beagle we brought home two weeks after Brodie passed away. We are still working with the housebreaking and his wanting to get into everything. So, into a crate he goes when we need to leave the house. We make it as positive of an experience we can, and even though he does the famous beagle howling initially, that is his only alternative until we feel we can trust him, which will probably be a year from now. I would say the same would be for your cat. You have given him a loving home but you deserve to not have your home messed up in the process. I am all for you figuring out a safe space for him when you need to leave; I know a crate is difficult for a cat but a safe basement should be ideal for him and give you peace of mind when you need to leave.

  • dadoes
    3 months ago

    The tub boot/gasket isn't a physical part of the swinging door. It's flexible and mounts to the inner tub and machine front panel to allow the tub to oscillate during operation. A pillow case covering the door won't conceal the boot.

  • jalarse
    3 months ago

    I can certainly sympathize with you. I have a little black cat who is the tiny terror. We love her to death, but she is a terror. This may sound a little strange, but I’ve had problems with deer outside, coming up and eating my rosebushes so I remembered, I had these Halloween decorations, and a couple of them were skulls That you use two AA batteries in and when there’s a motion in front of them, they start making noise the eyes light up, after two days the deer never came back and the rosebushes were fine. I was just wondering if you could get something like that on Amazon if they still have Halloween decorations, just a skull that lights up and makes noises and put it in your washer. Give your little kitty something to think about.

  • beesneeds
    3 months ago

    It wouldn't be kind to lock a cat in with a motion scare any more than it is kind to lock them in with a scent deterrent. The laundry room is pretty much the only safe space that cat has known since a kitten- they got it last May and it's still considered too young to be left alone in the house. It's locked in there during night hours and probably during day hours when they are out of the house too. So a lot of it's training, bonding, and comfort time is spent alone locked in the laundry room. Putting scent deterrents or jump scares into the little safe space they are locked into and can't escape is just cruel. It's not nice to do it to an animal that can escape the fear and get out of the room/space with it, but it can be effective training if used humanely. To do it to to a trapped animal is just not OK. It would be kinder to rehome it, even if the kids do like playng wth it when it's allowed out of the room.

  • sail_away
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Keep the door to the laundry room closed. Can you find another safe place for the cat to hang out?

  • beesneeds
    3 months ago

    sail_away... the OP is already keeping the laundry room closed, with the cat inside the room.

  • cwurch
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Hi Everyone! I wanted to give an update to our situation! Thank you for weighing in on this conversation and giving us so much to think about!
    We have moved our Benny downstairs for the nights. He has a wonderful space to hang out in and I think he has adjusted to it well. During the daytime he is in the rest of the house, on his own for the most part when we’re working and at school. We are working together to keep the laundry room closed so he no longer has access to it. So far, so good!
    We haven’t replaced the gasket (for the second time!) yet, we just added some heavy duty tape and although it’s leaking a bit, a towel underneath the machine is working for now. Eventually we will replace the gasket, once the sting of all of this is behind us!

  • dadoes
    2 months ago

    Advise to replace the compromised boot promptly. Allowing water to continue leaking to where it shouldn't isn't a good move.

  • KW PNW Z8
    2 months ago

    @cwurch Thanks for update - it’s nice to hear the end of the story. I still cannot quite picture your cat chewing on the washer gasket. But, we had a friend with a German Shorthaired Pointer that they left in Garage while away -both their MZB & BMW needed wiring repairs. Bored? Punishment for their humans? Who knows? But I’m happy to hear you found a way to make everyone happy and didn’t give up on your kitty.

  • cwurch
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Oh the things we do for our pets! Here’s a pic of our guy.

  • KW PNW Z8
    2 months ago

    Such a sweet and innocent looking little thing too! 😊

  • c t
    2 months ago

    I have a front loader, too. I like the door more open than the instruction book designates. There's a magnet that keeps it *almost* closed. I want more ventilation.


    There's a cup hook in the framing next to my washer. A Gear Tie (not associated, I just like 'em) is hooked to the cup hook, and the other end of the gear tie is hooked into the handle of the door.. "Gear ties" is a brand name, They're like the twisty wires that used to close bread bags, but on steroids.

  • cwurch
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    I’ll check that out, thanks c t! I think we’ve finally worked out the solution - we’re managing quite well just keeping him out of the laundry room (with a huge BEWARE sigh on the door! 😂) We have a magnetic gizmo from Amazon that’s keeping the door open enough to keep it aired out. So far, so good!