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Warning: Dangerous pet food storage bin a death trap, cat dies trying to escape

An airtight pet food storage bin, called Top Paw Airtight Storage Container sold at PetSmart, is blamed for the horrific death of a cat that died of suffocation after trying futily to escape its plastic prison. Pet parent Kari Willett came home to find her beloved cat dead at the bottom of the bin among tins of pet food, lying in a crumpled heap, after furiously trying to get free.

One can only imagine the terrible, frantic cries for help that went unanswered until her cat finally ran out of oxygen.

Ms. Willett said that though the container’s lid had been closed and locked, her cat still managed to get himself inside the bin, and was accidentally trapped inside the airtight container.

Unfortunately, because the design of the container does not allow for the lid to be opened from the inside, her cat had no means of escape and suffocated after being trapped inside the pet food container.

Ms. Willett took to Facebook to warn other pet parents of the product’s potential danger by posting a heartbreaking plea to share her tragic story with others:

“As many of you know, my sleeping companion, my caretaker from 5 hospital visits just this past calendar year died tragically yesterday. I do not post for sympathy but in hope of protecting others from what I experienced yesterday.

About a month ago I bought two “Top Paw” food storage bins from PetSmart. I loved how sleek and stackable they were.

Unfortunately, my cat of 5 years was able to open the lock, climb in (granted to steal extra rations), however after climbing in the bin, he was trapped when the lock fell back down on him. He was unable to get back out.

Mowgli died when he ran out of oxygen while I was gone from home.

When I came home to feed my family, I found him in his food bin. It is one of the more tragic experiences in my life. I would do anything to hold him. I feel incredible guilt not being there for him. I hate the last image I have of him is from this accident.

If any of you have these bins, I beg you to take them back. You may tell them about Mowgli and let them know you want to protect your family from this same fate.

Please feel free to share.”

Not long after posting her tragic story on Facebook, another pet parent shared her story about the same airtight pet food storage bins on Ms. Willett’s Facebook post.

Since contacting PetSmart about the tragedy, Ms. Willet was sent a compassionate letter of sympathy and PetSmart informed her that they have begun an investigation into the safety of the product with the product manufacturer.

Meanwhile, the death trap is still available for sale on PetSmart’s website, despite their note of sympathy.

To report an incident involving an unsafe product (other than food), go to the government’s Consumer Product Safety Commission and file a complaint.


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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, the author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and consumer advisor. Help support her work by making a donation today.

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