TUMBLE-DRIED CAT A WHISKER FROM DEATH
July 06, 2005
BY STEVEN HUGHES
CURIOSITY almost killed a cat in Finchampstead when the meddling moggy sneaked into the tumble dryer.
Boris the Blue Point Birman was a whisker away from losing all nine lives when he evaded owner Angela Rawlings’ roving eye to curl up among the clothes and towels.
Mrs Rawlings turned on the rotating appliance without knowing Boris was inside but when she heard a banging sound after four minutes she opened the dryer to find a dizzy and scared cat.
Boris, who is two years old, damaged his tail but luckily survived the ordeal otherwise unscathed.
Mrs Rawlings said: “One minute he wasn’t there and the next minute he was – it must have happened in the blink of an eye.
“He’d got in and I shut the door. I then heard this banging noise and I wondered what it was. I went to have a look and he’d actually got in.
“I’d had a towelling robe in there and it was set to a very hot tumble. It’s hard to tell but I reckon he was in there for three or four minutes.
“My legs went from beneath me when I saw it was Boris. I pulled him out limp and panting and very hot.
“I had to phone the emergency vets because it was 7.30am.
“They needed to check he hadn’t broken his spine.
“It was a very close run thing. It was so lucky I didn’t leave the room after starting the tumble dryer because he would have died.”
The tragic story last week of a three-year-old girl who suffocated in a tumble dryer with her kitten in the Midlands prompted Mrs Rawlings to tell her story and warn other pet owners against a similar fate.
The complementary therapist added: “It’s not as uncommon as people might think. Cats are so inquisitive. I couldn’t believe it when it happened.
“My back was turned for a second and then he was in. After it happened I was neurotic.
“These days I put the washing in and I have to take it
out and reload it before I switch it on.
“All I can say is if your cat likes warm places then be extremely vigilant around the washing machines and tumble dryers.
“They do like little holes to hide in and they can do things so quickly.”
Karen Hurworth, homing officer for the Reading East, Wokingham and Bracknell branch of the Cats’ Protection League, said reports of cats in tumble-dryers were “quite rare” but the charity advises owners to be very careful.
She said: “I wouldn’t say it was a common thing but we do hear of stories about it and it’s good to publicise it.
“We would always advise anyone who owns cats when they are doing their washing to always check when they shut the door because it is a hazard.”
Lindsey Addison, spokeswoman for national insurance company Pet Protect – of which Mrs Rawlings is a member – praised her for making the story public and raising awareness of the dangers.
She said: “Quite often our customers don’t want to talk about it. Cats in washing machines is always thought to be apocryphal but animals do like warm spots.
“I think it’s excellent Mrs Rawlings is telling the public about this.”