Cat Goes Through Wash Cycle (and May Win an Award for It)


If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a hundred times: If you have a cat, be very careful when you’re doing laundry!

Daryl Humdy’s roommate learned this lesson the hard way. While Humdy was out doing errands, his roommate started tossing his dirty laundry into their washing machine. He stepped out for a minute, came back, and kept loading the clothes in, not realizing that Humdy’s six-month-old Siberian cat, Natasha, had hopped in to check out the scene.

Thirty-five minutes later, Humdy arrived home to find his roommate pulling laundry — and a soaked and shaken-up Natasha — out of the washing machine. Humdy rushed Natasha to an emergency vet clinic, where she was treated for hypothermia and shock, and later filed a claim with Veterinary Pet Insurance for her care.

"Since I brought Natasha home as a newborn kitten, she had always been very curious about the washing machine," Humdy said. "She would always take a peek inside, but I never thought she would jump in. My roommate and I are much more cautious around the house now, because we would hate for her to have to go through something like that again."

Natasha’s story was so odd that it was chosen as Veterinary Pet Insurance’s "Most Unusual Claim of the Month." She’s now a candidate for Veterinary Pet Insurance’s Hambone Award — for most unusual claim of the year.

The Hambone Award is named after a VPI-insured dog who got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while waiting for someone to find him. The dog was found before he suffered anything more severe than mild hypothermia — and maybe an upset stomach for his gluttony.

Each month, VPI employees select one interesting claim as that month’s nominee. All nominees are pets who made full recoveries and were reimbursed through the pet insurance company for eligible expenses. In September, the public votes for the most unusual claim among those submitted, and whichever unfortunate pet gets the most votes wins that year’s Hambone Award.

Although dogs are the most common Hambone Award nominees, each year has its fair share of feline contenders. In fact, the second-place winner in 2012 was Pebbles, a California cat who got stuck in a car engine and went on a 15-mile road trip before her caretakers realized what was going on. Pebbles was treated for lacerations and a broken jaw, and has since made a full recovery.

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