6-month-old Natasha, a Siberian Forest cat, was the most pleasant-smelling pet the veterinarian had ever treated.
Daryl Humdy of Oakland, Calif., came home last month to a laundry catastrophe. His 6-month-old Siberian Forest cat, Natasha (pictured left), 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 “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Veterinary Pet Insurance (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,” Humdy told VPI. “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. Humdy arrived home just as his roommate was pulling out his clothes to find a soaked and visibly shaken kitten. Humdy immediately rushed Natasha to the emergency clinic.
“Natasha was shaking and crying. I knew she was frightened, and I was frightened for her,” Humdy says.
At the veterinary hospital, Natasha was treated for hypothermia and shock—fortunately she didn’t have any broken bones or other more serious injuries. The veterinarian said she was the most pleasant-smelling pet the team had ever treated. Natasha has since made a full recovery.
“Natasha’s ordeal shows the importance of pet-proofing your home for kittens and puppies,” says 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.”
Natasha’s incident was one of more than 80,000 claims VPI received in December and employees dubbed it the “most unusual.” Honorable mentions include a blue heeler dog that sustained blunt trauma after being chased down and kicked by a mule, a poodle that was hit by a bicycle and a St. Bernard that ingested a holiday ornament. All pets considered for the award made full recoveries.
As the most unusual claim submitted, Natasha will be in the running for the 2013 VPI Hambone Award. Other nominees include:
- Chance the Labrador retriever who was butted by a goat
- Ariel the Himalayan kitten who got trapped under a garage door
- Annie the Yorkshire terrier who was stranded outdoors during one of the worst storms in North American history.