You Can Never Be Careful Enough When You Have a Cat and a Washing Machine

Lisa Keefe appears to me to be a very good cat guardian/caretaker. She looks after her crossbreed Bengal cat whose name is Bobby.

Bobby liked to sleep in the washing machine. Lisa knew it and checked. On this occasion she had taken him out of the washing machine before turning the machine on. But – and this is typical of cats – he snuck back in without her noticing. She turned her back for a second. Bobby jumped in and he hid under the duvet inside the washing machine.

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She turned the machine on and went about her business as usual. Then….she heard a noise and asked her husband, Kevin, if he knew Bobby’s whereabouts. I don’t know his answer but it was probably in the negative! Anyway, she rushed to the washing machine and could see the colour of his fur mixed in with the quilt. She was petrified and as fast as possible recovered him. That must have meant pumping out the water, turning off the machine and opening the door and then pulling him out. It must have taken a few minutes of panic.

The washing machine cycle that she had selected runs at 60°C. I don’t know how far into the cycle the machine was but Bobby was traumatised.

A veterinarian who checked him over said:

“Bobby was on the verge of collapse as his body was soaked through and his temperature was dangerously low. He is very lucky. In my 15 years as a vet I’ve never seen a case like this.”

Keefe with veterinarian
Keefe with veterinarian

The fact that Bobby’s temperature was exceedingly low indicates to me he was in the rinse cycle at the end…just a guess and probably incorrect. In fact he was probably in the machine for a relatively short time; during the early part of the cycle but I don’t know.

Lisa remarked:

“I think Bobby’s learnt his lesson the hard way. He doesn’t go anywhere near the washer any more – but I’m still very careful and triple check before turning it on.”

The same sort of thing can happen with doors. You don’t want your cat to go out of a door and your cat is lingering around the door. You are watching. For a second you fail to watch him. And he’s gone through the door. Black cats are the worst if the room is dimly lit because you simply can’t see them sneak out.

The moral is, no matter how careful you are and no matter how good a cat caretaker you are you have to check and recheck just as Lisa has committed herself to doing.

P.S. Bobby has been nominated for a PDSA pet survivor award!

7 thoughts on “You Can Never Be Careful Enough When You Have a Cat and a Washing Machine”

  1. Loving cats is easy and such a joy; but, keeping them safe is a full time job.
    Years ago, I fostered a mama cat with 4 tiny kittens. One morning, I found the kits in the washer under towels during my frantic search for them.
    Another time, I found 2 of the kits behind the dishwasher.
    ME is right. No machine should start until a head count is completed. Any cabinet containing harmful products needs to be sabotaged. I bungee cord cabinets.
    We consented to the task of caretaking from the get-go. Safety is #1 on the long list of “things to do”.
    At least, it’s my priority; especially with my ferals.
    I will go to any length to protect my cats.

  2. “I think Bobby’s learnt his lesson the hard way. He doesn’t go anywhere near the washer any more – but I’m still very careful and triple check before turning it on.”

    I am sorry this just makes me boil. No the cat did not learn a lesson the hard way. It’s like saying your child learned not to play in the road after being hit by a car.

    Nothing in this house starts unless there is a head count. And it’s as annoying as hell. Because they are both right there and when you turn to check one or both have vanished.
    Rule is if it’s open the cat is probably in it.

    • I completely agree with you. British articles always make things so cutesy sounding (I googled the story after reading this one). While she does seem to be a good cat owner overall, there’s nothing cute about this occasion. He was just 9 months old, accurate to the other story I read. I’m very very glad the cat is okay but this was a disaster in the making. I’m just thankful to God that the cat didn’t pay the price for this!! 60*c is 140*f!

      • She’s doing it the wrong way. You can think you’ve checked to make sure the cat isn’t in there. The only 100% way is to check. Shut the lid or door and then get physical hands on inventory.


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