Starlight’s Escapade: Escape from a Cat Carrier.

by | Feb 23, 2013 | Nedda's Animal Family | 4 comments

“Ethical Products, Inc.” –

Just how “ethical” are they?

Last summer I purchased a very expensive (for me) pet carrier that was light weight, with shoulder strap and several other nifty features. I did this because I was having my usual set of physical issues, and carrying my adults cats in their regular carriers had become difficult if not impossible.

The carrier was beautiful, although a bit snug for Sakhara, who is OK with it for short trips.  I used it maybe 6 or 7 times and it remained in perfect, “as new” condition.

Then Starlight went to the vet last week to be spayed. She’s about 6 months old and weighs only 5.2 pounds. I cut her nails the day before, and she was as prepared physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually as any kitten could be.

Starlight at 5 months.

Starlight came through the spaying surgery with flying colors, but being a healthy, active kitten, she was frustrated with a full day of confinement that had begun when we left home at 7 a.m. that morning.

When I picked Starlight up at 6 p.m. that evening, I carefully checked all the zippers on the new carrier to make sure they were completely closed. I belted the carrier into the car seat, and started for the interstate.

Although I had greeted her lovingly while still at the vet, Starlight was protesting being confined. After turning onto the highway entry ramp, which is at least a mile long, I placed my right hand near the mesh at the front door of the carrier so she could scent it and hopefully calm down. To my great horror and surprise, I suddenly felt a cat head butting up against the palm of my hand.

STARLIGHT HAD ESCAPED!!

 

I grabbed Starlight by the scruff of the neck and looked for a place to pull the car over.

It was night.

There were orange glowing streetlights lining the mile-long entry ramp.

When the ramp split off in two directions, I was supposed to take the left lane.

Instead, I pulled into the space between the two lanes – not exactly a safe spot, in retrospect, but better than continuing on while holding a wiggling, escaped kitten in my right hand.

I turned on the light inside the car and discovered that Starlight had completely pulled the nylon mesh out of the stitching on one side of the front door of the carrier.  The zipper was still closed and in good condition.

What a strong kitten!! And she was so proud of her achievement! Unfortunately, I was less than happy.  Also unfortunately, I didn’t have any duct tape in the car, as after trying one or two ideas very quickly, it became very clear that there was no way to seal Starlight back into the carrier.

My only option was to hold the mesh closed with my right hand. This is not a safe way to drive.  Furthermore, it was dark. The roads were still lined with plowed up piles of snow from a blizzard just a few days before that had left 36+ inches everywhere. It was 6 p.m. and the temperature was falling. I really prefer to drive with two hands under these circumstances.

Still, I had no choice. It’s not safe to allow a curious kitten to run loose where she can crawl under the brake pedal or go flying into the windshield if a sudden stop is required.

Thanks to Mother/Father Source and the entire Upstairs Department we made it home safely.  Starlight had quieted down about half-way home, but I wasn’t taking any chances and kept holding the mesh closed.  Once in the garage with the overhead door shut, I took her out of the carrier, and made it into the house.

Before I left for the vets to pick Starlight up, Violet and Sakhara and I had discussed that Starlight would need to spend the night in the cat meditation room.  Now I unceremoniously, and without consulting anyone, carried Starlight into that room, shut the door tightly behind me, put Starlight on the floor, and proceeded to remove Violet from the cat meditation cave.

Violet was a bit dazed.  She was more out of her body than in it.  “Sorry,” I told her.  I wasn’t exactly calm, and because I know that cats after surgery often smell strange to other cats because of the drugs and antiseptics, I didn’t want to leave Violet and Star together until I could be present to supervise.  I still had to go back to the car, turn out all the lights, and bring everything inside from the trip.

As soon as I could, I took some (read LOTS OF)  5 Flower Formula (same as Bach’s Rescue Remedy) to calm myself down.  Then I had to settle everyone else down.   Starlight hadn’t eaten since 11:30 p.m. the night before and had refused food at the vets, so getting her to eat was a high priority.

So now my question was:

“What is the company that

sells this product going to do?”

 

It took several attempts to  reach their Customer Service department at Ethical Products, Inc., but I finally got through.  Persistence matters!!

I have been promised a brand new carrier!

 

Hand stitched repair to carrier door.  The thread is VERY strong.

Meanwhile, I used my sewing skills and ingenuity to repair the carrier.  Violet and Sakhara would never think of trying get to out, so I feel it’s safe to use this old one for them, and since they are both receiving Advanced Allergy Therapeutics treatments, I still needed a functioning carrier.

The new carrier hasn’t arrived yet, and I keep wondering:  Is this a design flaw?  Or was this individual carrier defective?  I’ve asked the company and am waiting for a response.

I’ll definitely let you know what I find out, as safety is important when our animals need to travel.

Starlight has recovered nicely from her surgery.  Perhaps she’ll tell you all about it sometime.

Namaste,
Nedda

P.S.  The company, Ethical Products Inc., sent me a brand new carrier.  The materials it’s made with are different from the original one, but the company was unwilling to say whether this carrier is safe for Starlight.  I appreciate their sending me a new carrier, but I’m not very confident about putting a physically strong, strong-minded kitten into it.  So for now, Violet and Sakhara get to use these, and Starlight gets the big plastic box with metal mesh.  I’m taking no chances!

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4 Comments

  1. Betty Lewis

    Glad it all worked out. Hope the new carrier is worry free.
    Betty

    Reply
  2. ZoomaPood

    Have a strange feeling this may just be the start of your adventures with Starlight! She’s looking beautiful.

    Reply
    • Nedda

      EVERY DAY is an adventure with Starlight. I had a large plastic garbage back of stuff from my paper shredder in my office, as it hold 3 times the amount the shredder container can hold. Heard rustling around the other day, thank goodness, and caught her just before she decided to play in the shredded paper. Whew!!

      Reply
  3. Marie-Jeanne de Lange

    Dear Nedda, hahaha! This ia a well-known problem with these nice and beautiful carriers and vivacious cats. I remember my vet saying about a cat caught with a trap, brought to the vet with that trap and supposed to be put into one of these nice carriers after the operation: I’ll never put her into THAT thing, it ‘ll take her two minutes to tear down that mesh. And from my personal experience: some cats chew through even much thicker stuff. Conclusion: these carriers are good only for calm, submissive cats, the “I don’t mind it” sort, pity we not always know beforehand if a cat is really calm or just faking?!

    Reply

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