Categories: death

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 (

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.


Source 1

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Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

View Comments

  • 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.

    • There's a cat missing in SC after escaping through an electric dryer vent. Always something...

  • 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.

  • Well, that is very kind of you to say, but there'n lies a bit of past guilt and regrets leaving my loved ones with a bad babysitter.A person I really thought we could trust.

  • The most dangerous item in your home for kittens is the RECLINER chair, they hide up in there and when you sit back you can crush them.

  • We're lazy. We just roll the bag down. But we keep food available at all times.

    Jason I'm so sorry. I feel bad on not covering this when I heard about the first case.

  • Dear All__I keep our cats food in a very sturdy cooler that can't be left open accidently as we have placed a windowseat pad on top to use as a bench. their food stays fresh and only an adult can get into it for supplies. p.s.-no hinges just a heavy duty insulated plastic cooler.

    useful note: I used to store their dry food under the sink, until they learned how to open the cabinet.

  • my heart is hurting for the loss of theses two kitties. this is extremely sad. i use a cat tin with secure lid an can only hold 4kg of kittie biscuits. as i foster kittens of all ages i find this a great alternative to other products for storing biscuits. please accept my sincere sympathy to you both,

  • Thank you for bringing this to the forefront..The friend referred to in the article is myself,and the cat that died was my beloved Spring... :( I never would have imagined that he would climb into the container and become trapped...I miss him so much and I blame myself for his death...Please do not use containers with hinged lids or locking lids...

    • I feel so bad for you and your kitty. Please don't beat yourself up. We assume that items we buy for our furkids would be safe for them, but evidently that is not the case. I'm so sorry for your loss.

    • Thanks Jason for visiting and commenting. So sad to read about your cat. I am sorry to hear the news. Best of luck.

  • That is such a sad story. ?
    I have some old cereal storage boxes that I use for dry cat food. The lids snap on but the box isn't big enough to entice a cat. I also have a small cabinet where I store the box. They really are not interested, but it could be because I leave dry food out all the time.

  • They are vertical toddlers. I have one of those bins that will probably get replaced tomorrow. Although it's pretty hard to get open I can see either of my monkeys getting in should it get left unlatched.

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