Riser Recliner Chairs Can Crush Pets

By Mary Lou Conton

My beloved 10 year old, 18 lb Cairn Terrier, Harley, who grew up around Recliner Lift chairs (riser recliner chairs) somehow got swept under my mothers lift chair August 15, 2014 and was crushed to death. I am devastated, my mother is as well.


Cats and Dogs can be crushed by Recliner Tilt Chairs
Cats and dogs can be crushed by Recliner Tilt Chairs. Picture of Harley on her lap in the death chair, during AFC Championship game Feb.2013
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

This picture shows the style of chair. Harley’s little body was stretched across the front bar, the chair goes down about 3″ above the floor when lifted. I believe the chair must have been reclined, and somehow, he got swept under it as she was moving from recline, to sit, stand. She is very hard of hearing, unable to wear a hearing aid, the tv is always very loud, so did not hear him.


He would have been 11 in January. He bleed out from his crush injuries, sadly was not found for a while, as she got up to go to bed, and I found him when I came home.

I am angry at myself, for not protecting him, at the manufacturer for not having better warnings, or not installing “Stop” mechanisms like garage door openers. I would gladly have paid more $ for a chair with this. Of course, I knew recliners could be dangerous to children, but thought that was corrected by making the “X” recliner mechanism smaller so heads didn’t get caught.

Since he was always around them from the time he was a puppy, and never went near the bottom of the chair I’m in shock. He always sat on her lap when I was out, never under the recliner part, as a matter of fact, she rarely reclines. The woman at the cremation place told us this is a fairly common cause of death for cats, dogs of all sizes as well as ferrets, etc.

Also, sofa beds commonly trapped and kill pets. I looked through the manual, a tiny one-inch warning logo, in black. I talked to the medical supply store, never heard of this, never warned anyone. They promised me, they will ask if there are pets in the home to anyone who comes in to but one, and warn them of the danger.

There should be better safety measures in place. Heartbroken! Thank you, for sharing your story and I am sorry for all of the people who’ve posted losses. R.I.P. Harley, hope there really is a Rainbow Bridge and I see you again. <3Associated Page: Recliner chairs and kittens

Mary Lou Conton


P.S. from Michael. Mary Lou left a comment and I decided to make it an article to spread the word a bit more because this is such a tragic accident. It should not be allowed to happen. Cats are particularly good companions to elderly people so these chairs are more likely to be a hazard to many cats in homes. How many are hurt or killed?

P.P.S Reclining chairs can kill people too. A cinema-goer was crushed by a reclining chair as he searched for his keys and phone underneath it. It took 15 mins to release him and he died in hospital a week later of a hypoxic brain injury. The chair had malfunctioned and they’ve since been replaced. The cinema was fined £750,000.

30 thoughts on “Riser Recliner Chairs Can Crush Pets”

  1. Just heard of a cat who became caught in “Hairpin” style legs on a table. They are often found on Mid Century Modern style furniture and often on new pieces as well. As the cat panicked it became further wedged in the leg. Fortunately the person was home and able to rescue their cat. Easily could have been a devastating outcome with crushing chaet or head injuries. Mary Lou, original poster. Harley, Run free at the 🌈 Bridge.

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  2. Wow I’m so glad I read this. I’m so sorry for what happened to your beloved Harley. I was looking at recliners today for my father but then I though it could be dangerous for my cats and I remembered someone telling me years ago that her cat had been killed by her motorized garage door. And I vowed never to get anything like that. I don’t know why I was even considering this. Rest in peace Harley and all the other for babies who have perished or who have been injured by recliners and lift up chairs. They can never be safe. I do not even think the lift up chair is safe for an adult because if they’re frail at all it might cause them to fall. I’ll just get a normal chair, maybe one with an ottoman or something like that.

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  3. WE JUST HAD SIMILAR EXPERIENCE, FOUND OUR BELOVED CAVALIER STUCK UNDER OPEN RECLINER CHAIR, WE WERE OTHER SIDE OF HOUSE WHEN WE HEARD OTHER DOGS BARKING, WENT TO SEE AND DOG TRAPPED UNDER CHAIR CHOKING TO DEATH! DOG WOULDA BEEN DEAD IN A MINUTE/ THANK GOD WE SAVED HER. FRIGHTENING, BECAUSE IT COULDA BEEN A KID OR DEATH TO ANY SMALL PET, CHILD! WHY AREN’
    T WE WARNED AB OUT THIS BY MAKERS OF THESE DEATH TRAPS. CHAIRS NOW THROWN OUT!

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    • Thank you for telling us your story. These chairs are very dangerous for small pets. The manufacturers don’t give a damn. It is as simple as that.

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      • Mrs. Anderson, I am so thankful that you were able to rescue your beloved dog. Wow, wonderful that the other dogs were able to alert you in time. I never heard a word from the manufacturer of the recliner lift chair we had or any other company. Every now and then I peak at the chair labels or brochures when I am in a hospital/medical supply store and still no warnings about pets, tiny warning for children’s safety. Still missing Harley. My beautiful, tiny SATO Barbie is doing great, no danger from chairs, but there are always hidden dangers. Michael, thank you again for your compassion and for helping to spread awareness.

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        • Thanks Mary. My first encounter with this sort of furniture was when I was in America visiting the cat breeder A1 Savannahs.

          They had a recliner in the living room which was very surprising because they had kittens being socialised all over the house. We discussed it but I don’t think they did anything about it.

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  4. Harley has been gone since August 15th, and is still very missed. This article is now posted at a local visiting nurse agency, they were shocked to learn of Harley’s death, he was a favorite with them. This past Sunday, I brought home a Sato, rescued from Puerto Rico. She will never replace Harley, but she will be as loved as he was. “Barbie” will be safe. Of course there are always dangers, so I post this update, perhaps someone will see the article for the first time. Please keep your beloved fur-babies away from these chairs. Peace, Mary Lou <3

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