Six Lives Left: Cat Survives Gas Chamber and Freezer


In honor of Global Black Cat Week, I present to you the story of a cat who has proven that the “cats have nine lives” thing may be more than just a joke.

Andrea, a gorgeous black-and-white long-haired cat was brought into the shelter in West Valley City, Utah, a month ago. She’d obviously been someone’s pet; she was friendly, affectionate, and litterbox trained.

Unfortunately nobody came forward to claim her.

Maybe her black fur made her so hard to see that nobody stepped forward to adopt her, either.

At West Valley City Animal Shelter, 30 days with no adoption means only one thing: the gas chamber.

That’s right. This shelter uses carbon monoxide to kill unwanted animals. It gives me the shudders just thinking about it.

In any case, they herded Andrea into the gas chamber with a bunch of other unwanted cats, hit the switch, and waited for the dirty deed to be done.

But when the shelter worker opened the chamber door, Andrea was still alive.

He closed the chamber and ran the gas again.

This time, Andrea was no longer moving and appeared to have no vital signs, so the shelter worker assumed she was finally dead. He put Andrea’s body in a bag with some others and tossed her in a freezer with the other animals that had been killed.

About 45 minutes later, workers returned to the cooler with a dead dog. When they opened the door, they heard meowing. They ripped open the garbage bag and found Andrea staring at them, wide-eyed with terror.

I guess it finally hit them that a cat that could survive two gassings and being nearly frozen to death might just deserve to keep living. The West Valley City Animal Shelter’s manager took Andrea to the vet to have her checked out, and then called Community Animal Welfare Society, who quickly took her into their care.

The city defends the gas chamber method by saying it’s endorsed by the American Veterinary Association.


Have you seen the list of symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning? Headache, dizziness, nausea, chest pain, vomiting, abdominal pain, seizures — and lots of other fun and exciting sensations. If these things happen to humans with carbon monoxide poisoning, how on earth can anybody think that animals don’t experience similar symptoms?

Thankfully, some US states have banned gas chamber “euthanasia,” and organizations including the American Humane Association and the Humane Society of the United States campaign against its use because they consider it an inhumane method of killing unwanted animals.

Andrea and her six remaining lives are now safe in the custody of CAWS. She doesn’t appear to be suffering any long-term harm from her ordeal. The organization is hoping that Andrea’s story will show how cruel it is to gas animals to death.

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