Warning: Cat food storage bins are killing cats

Originally published July 30, 2016, this article is as important today as it was then. Please share with friends who use these containers to store their cat food.

This is a warning story, the type I really hate to write but feel it necessary in order to help cat owners protect their beloved companions. It involves cat food storage bins and what should be a good product that is now responsible for killing cats.

Petsmart container is still being sold (Petsmart.com)
Petsmart container is still being sold (Petsmart.com)
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

While it doesn’t happen often, one death is too many when it’s your cat. I’m talking about a cat food storage bins. These are sold to keep dry cat food fresh and bug-free and out of kitty’s reach until time to eat. Unfortunately, curious cats are finding their way inside the storage bin and becoming trapped, suffocating to death.

Kari’s case

I read about a case about a year ago when pet parent Kari Willett came home to find her beloved cat Mowgli dead at the bottom of the bin among tins of pet food. Her cat was lying in a crumpled heap after furiously trying to get free until oxygen ran out. Kari posted to Facebook:

“As many of you know, my sleeping companion, my caretaker from 5 hospital visits just this past calendar year died tragically yesterday. I do not post for sympathy but in hope of protecting others from what I experienced yesterday.

About a month ago I bought two “Top Paw” food storage bins from PetSmart. I loved how sleek and stackable they were.

Unfortunately, my cat of 5 years was able to open the lock, climb in (granted to steal extra rations), however after climbing in the bin, he was trapped when the lock fell back down on him. He was unable to get back out.”

PetSmart did send Kari a letter of sympathy after she reported the tragedy, but the popular pet food storage bin is still available on the PetSmart website. There’s a design flaw that makes it impossible for a cat trapped inside to open the cover.  PetSmart says they’re investigating their product.

There are other cat food storage bins out there that are just as dangerous. A few days ago I read on a friend’s Facebook wall about how his cat got inside his storage bin and managed to knock it over, trapping his cat inside. Like Kari, my friend came home to find his cat dead.

While these are freak accidents, they’ve left behind a lot of guilt by owners who were only trying to do right by their cat. This is a story worth sharing. Any little tidbit of information needs sharing because this isn’t something most of us would even think of as being dangerous.

Other methods of pet suffocation can be found here and are worth the read.


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28 thoughts on “Warning: Cat food storage bins are killing cats”

  1. I am a frequent visitor at Petsmart and will, happily, post signs on those sort of bins, as well as speak with management and corporate about the dangers.
    Thanks for the alert Elisa. My brain reels with the number of things that I have to do in order to safeguard my cats.
    To Jason Cooke… I am so sorry this happened to your beloved Spring.

  2. My thoughts are someone will read this and think what a pack of paranoid nuts. How often does something like this really happen.
    My answer, Once is enough if it happens to you.

    • My mother raised me as a paranoid nut 🙂 I grew up in the late 60’s/early 70’s and even back then mama preached to lock the car doors, lock the house doors and to turn down knives in the dish drainer after washing them so no one gets cut. Our cat Annabelle got her foot caught in the sliding kitchen drawer mechanism while she was under the cabinet exploring.

      • I used to help design horse facilities. I would literally physically stand in the structures and ‘ Be the Horse’ to try and eliminate potential hazards. And yet without fail no matter how careful we are our pets can get hurt. The best we can do is remove obvious and not so obvious dangers and hope for the best.


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