Kitten Gets Stuck in Washing Machine, Creating Near ‘Cat’astrophe


Many of us have experienced a laundry mishap or two – perhaps inadvertently mixing our “darks” with our “whites.” Unfortunately for Daryl Humdy of Oakland, Calif., he arrived home in December to find a much more serious laundry calamity when his six-month-old Siberian Forest cat, Natasha accidentally went through an entire wash cycle. The incident resulted in severe hypothermia and a trip to the emergency animal hospital, earning Natasha the title of December’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI).

“My roommate was loading his laundry and left the lid to the washing machine open while he went to the next room to grab more clothes,” explained Daryl. “He came back, threw his clothes in, and shut the lid to the washing machine without realizing that Natasha had jumped into it while he had been away.”

Natasha went through the full, 35-minute wash cycle. Daryl arrived home just as his roommate was pulling out his clothes to find a soaked and visibly shaken kitten. Shocked at what had just transpired, Daryl immediately rushed Natasha to the emergency animal hospital.

“I knew I had to make a quick decision,” said Daryl. “Natasha was shaking and crying. I knew she was frightened, and I was frightened for her.”

At the hospital, Natasha was treated for hypothermia and shock, but was very fortunate to escape the scary ordeal without receiving any broken bones or other, more serious injuries. The veterinarian even praised Natasha as the most pleasant-smelling pet they had ever treated. Natasha has since made a full recovery and is as active as ever around the house – except when she’s near the laundry room.

“Since I brought Natasha home as a newborn kitten, she had always been very curious about the washing machine,” explained Daryl. “She would always take a peek inside, but I never thought she would jump in. My roommate and I are much more cautious around the house now, because we would hate for her to have to go through something like that again.”

Resolved to spend whatever amount of money it took to ensure his frisky feline would pull through the terrifying ordeal, Daryl was appreciative that his employer, Zynga Inc., is one of the more than 3,000 organizations and associations nationwide to offer VPI Pet Insurance as a voluntary employee benefit.

“I am very thankful that Zynga offers VPI Pet Insurance,” said Daryl. “I was reimbursed for nearly all of the treatment costs, and I get a discount on my policy through work.”

“Natasha’s ordeal shows the importance of pet-proofing your home for kittens and puppies,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Like young children, young pets are naturally curious. In addition to familiarizing new pets with their surroundings, specific action should be taken by pet owners to prevent potentially harmful and even fatal events from occurring.”

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