Texas Kitty Narrowly Avoids a Dryer Disaster

Summer was winding down at the Yarbrough house in Leander, Texas. The family had plans to visit their grandparents before the school year started, and mom Chelsey was doing her best to wrangle four small children while preparing for the trip.

Chelsey never suspected that a load of laundry would lead to a frantic, frightening visit to the emergency vet for their beloved family cat, Jasper. This harrowing story has put Jasper on the nomination list for the 2019 Hambone Award.

“It was an unusually busy night,” recalls Chelsey. “Me and the kids were getting ready to go to their grandparents house for the weekend. Part of that involves doing laundry.”

Jasper Domestic Short Hair Cat

“My girls are very sweet, and they often ask to help me out with laundry. They took the clothes from the washing machine and placed them into the dryer. Typically, I always check their work before I start the cycle,” says Chelsey.

However, on this night, there was more going on in the laundry room than usual. Chelsey was dealing with one of her children, who was upset and in tears. Distracted by the commotion, she forgot to double check the dryer.

“I closed the door and I didn’t hear anything unusual,” says Chelsey. “Then I heard some thumping and I was like ‘that’s odd.’ I was thinking maybe the kids threw a shoe in there or something crazy. Thankfully, I opened the door… and there he was.” Jasper, the Yarbrough’s kitty, was trapped in the running dryer.

Despite her panicked state, Chelsey managed to get Jasper to the emergency animal hospital quickly. Upon arrival, he had an extremely high fever and was kept overnight for treatment and observation. Thankfully, he escaped major injury during his wild ride.

“It is not uncommon for cats to get trapped in the dryer, especially if you have a cat that likes dark and snug places,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary officer for Nationwide. “That said, it is important to be extra vigilant when doing laundry with cats in the home.”

Jasper Domestic Short Hair Cat

Thanks to the awesome care provided by Central Texas Veterinary Specialty and Emergency – North, Jasper has made a full recovery.

For her part, Chelsey learned to be extra careful in the laundry room. She tells other pet owners to do the same. “When you have animals that are super docile and sweet, sometimes you don’t worry about them as much. But maybe we should be more vigilant for the ones that don’t get into trouble, because when they do—we don’t expect it.”

As luck would have it, the Yarbrough family had pet insurance from Nationwide, so Jasper’s unexpected tumble didn’t throw the family into a financial tailspin. “I’m a mom of four and we work really hard but, in those instances, where something crazy happens, it’s always good to have that insurance in your back pocket,” Chelsey reflects. “You have insurance for yourself for emergencies, why not for your fur babies? They’re important too, their health is important, they’re a part of the family.”


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