Natasha Got In The Washing Machine (And 11 Other Candidates For The Hambone Awards)


It’s terrible when a pet has an accident. It’s wonderful when a pet survives an accident. And it can make for a great story when a pet survives a really awkward accident. That’s why it’s always a thrill when the folks at Veterinary Pet Insurance put together another year’s worth of Unusual Claims of the Month. They’re not just goofing on poor innocent animals, either. The year’s top winner (meaning the pet who gets the most votes) is awarded the coveted VPI Hambone Award. The lovely feline Natasha has helped to round out 2012 after an unlikely encounter with a washing machine. It’s a cautionary tale–and edited, but you can read the whole saga here. Remember that Natasha got out okay…

“My roommate was loading his laundry and left the lid to the washing machine open while he went to the next room to grab more clothes,” explained [owner] Daryl [Humby, of Oakland, Calif.]. “He came back, threw his clothes in, and shut the lid to the washing machine without realizing that Natasha had jumped into it while he had been away.”

Natasha went through the full, 35-minute wash cycle. Daryl arrived home just as his roommate was pulling out his clothes to find a soaked and visibly shaken kitten. Shocked at what had just transpired, Daryl immediately rushed Natasha to the emergency animal hospital. “I knew I had to make a quick decision,” said Daryl. “Natasha was shaking and crying. I knew she was frightened, and I was frightened for her.”

At the hospital, Natasha was treated for hypothermia and shock, but was very fortunate to escape the scary ordeal without receiving any broken bones or other, more serious injuries. The veterinarian even praised Natasha as the most pleasant-smelling pet they had ever treated. Natasha has since made a full recovery and is as active as ever around the house – except when she’s near the laundry room.

“Since I brought Natasha home as a newborn kitten, she had always been very curious about the washing machine,” explained Daryl. “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.”

Okay, that part about hypothermia makes the story more scary than awesome. The entire VPI Hambone Award might actually be a clever way to get scared straight about a few things as a pet owner. We know that we’ll always be checking our laundry for animals before turning on our washing machine.

And, of course, all of these stories allow VPI to stress the importance of having pet insurance. Animals get into some crazy situations. You might want to read about the saga of Peanut, who was buried alive by a skunk. We saw a skunk in our neighborhood the other day. We thought it was really cute. Now, we’d be more alarmed. So we’ve already learned something from Peanut’s ordeal. That has to be better than just laughing at the poor guy.