Sunday, January 8, 2023

Pet Loss: Yet Another Kitten Killed in Clothes Dryer

A deliberate mistake is not the same as an accidental one.  ~ Frank Sonnenberg

A reader writes: My mother saved three kittens from a feral life when she found them on her property by a feral mom. She watched them closely until mom had started weaning them then she took them in and had been raising them for the last couple months. They’re finally big enough for their sterilization surgeries and they are scheduled. I’ve been around animals my entire life. I’ve worked as an assistant in the veterinary field so I’m no stranger to animal care or loss. However yesterday crushed me. I was doing my laundry in my parents machine and never, not once, seen or heard the male kitten get into the dryer. It was beyond too late for him and he died in the machine. It was the most horrific thing I think I’ve ever dealt with. I killed my mom's kitten. Why didn’t I see him? Why didn’t I hear him? Why?! I have been crying ever since, pleading with the Lord to go back in time just this once to fix my mistake. To save him. I don’t know what to do. My mom is sad but she’s not mad. I snuggled with this kitten all weekend. He was a trouble maker, always almost hurting himself in his mischief. I adored him. I never saw him. I don’t know how he got in and I didn’t notice. I can’t get the image of his little lifeless body out of my head. The panic that rushed over me. The thoughts of how quickly did he die, did he suffer? What was I doing that I never noticed anything?

We buried him last night in our memorial garden. How can I redeem myself? How can I be forgiving? How can I fix this, or honor his life?

I’m utterly heartbroken. I robbed this little soul of his life. I feel wretched and wicked. I’m so sorry.

My response: I'm so sorry this happened to you and your kitten, and I hope that you will learn from this unspeakable tragedy and one day find a way to forgive yourself. Clearly this was a tragic accident, and not intentional on your part. 

Unfortunately you are not alone ~ this particular tragedy happens far more often than you might think ~ and once again I hope that by sharing your story here, we might raise awareness of this potential danger and encourage others to take appropriate steps to protect their curious kitties from this and other household dangers. 

As I've written elsewhere, if you have cats or kittens in your home, I urge you to consider taking these precautions:

  • Always keep the doors to appliances closed (washer, dryer, refrigerator, freezer).
  • Keep the door to your laundry room closed.
  • Place sticky notes on your appliances to remind you to check first for kitty’s presence.
  • Once you’ve loaded your washer or dryer (and before you turn it on), check the inside with a sweep of your hand.
  • If you hear any noise or strange sound coming from your washer or dryer, investigate immediately.

I also urge you and anyone reading this to see the following: Curious Cats Get Killed in Clothes Dryers and Curious Cats Still Getting Killed in Clothes Dryers ~ and be sure to read the many comments you'll find at the base of each of these posts.

Your feedback is welcome! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question, or share a tip, a related article or a resource of your own in the Comments section below. If you’d like Grief Healing Blog updates delivered right to your inbox, you’re cordially invited to subscribe to our weekly Grief Healing NewsletterSign up here.


Image by Gundula Vogel from Pixabay

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