A Google search for “cat in dryer” or similar term yields literally millions of results – most of them terrifying and tragic.
There are no available statistics on just how many cats are injured or killed in laundry appliances each year, but if the pet loss forums are any indication, the number is quite high. Too high for one UK cat lover.
Her gorgeous blue mink Tonkinese cat, Bellona passed away as a result of a dryer-related accident when a caregiver unknowingly ran the machine with her inside. She was just 16-months-old.
It’s in a cat’s nature to be drawn towards laundry machines. They seek out the warm, hidden comfort of a dryer filled with fresh laundry or are lured by curiosity to a churning washer.
Less common are incidents involving dogs and children, but as I’m sure we can all agree, the loss of even one precious life is one too many. That’s why Bellona’s grieving owner is working to bring about change in the UK laundry appliance industry. She hopes that something positive can come from her own tragic loss.
She created a petition to persuade appliance manufacturers to include safety sensors capable of detecting the presence of a living animal or person in their machines. Most manufacturers offer child safety warnings somewhere in their user guides, few have warning stickers on the machines themselves, and even fewer have any kind of safety mechanisms like lock-proof doors or alarms.
The petition calls for major appliance producers to begin including mandatory CO2 or heartbeat sensors that would initiate the immediate shut-down of the machine and/or emit an alarm. Success will not bring sweet Bellona back, but hopefully it will shield others from enduring similar heartbreaking twists of fate.
The petition has just 6 months to gain 100,000 signatures in order to be considered for debate in Parliament. If you live in the UK and would like to sign the petition and learn more about the cause, please click here. The lives of 2,000+ children and countless beloved pets per year may depend on it.