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Great caching vacation RUINED

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The wife and I decided to skip Christmas and go caching. Early Christmas morning we took off south and started caching around Brunswick, GA and the next four days cached down through St. Augustine, FL. We picked up 44 caches, saw some great sights, and got some good ideas--especially from The Federation's cache series. We had a blast.


...only to come home to find one of our cats had strangled on his collar.


He was an outdoor cat (fixed) that came in only to eat and nap. When we left we had fixed up the back garage with food and water, and left the door open a little so he could get in and out. We knew he'd be more happy outside than locked in the house for four or five days.


The two outdoor cats are hunters and while we don't mind too much having to clean up the dead rates and mice, we don't like to see them killing birds. Thus the collars, which had bells attached. The break-away collars simply don't last--they lost them within hours.


Well, we had found some regular collars made from a stretchy material. It was designed so if it got caught, they'd simply pull their head out. These collars have worked well at eliminating dead birds on our patio.


However, the addition of a bell at the loose end of the collar got caught between two boards at the top of a privacy fence and when he jumped down the buckle, being designed to prevent the collar from loosening, opened and the collar cinched tight. Now, with it tight around his neck there was no room for it to open up and let his head out.


There are two things I could have done to prevent this. One of the most obvious is not put the bell at the end of the strap and cut the strap short. The best thing I could have done--which I did to his sister's collar as she kept chewing the end and undoing the buckle--is size the collar and then sewn the collar so it can't change sizes. You can size these collars this way and just stretch them a little to put it over their head. This would have made it impossible for it to cinch down.


SO THIS IS A WARNING TO EVERYONE WITH COMPANION ANIMALS. Most buckles are designed so the collar will not get any bigger. Make sure the collar can't get any smaller, either.


I can't look back at that caching trip without the pain of losing a pet. Hopfully, this warning will save someone else that pain.






[EDIT: We didn't actually find Oreo dead. I'd really be a basket case. He had gotten in trouble in a neigbor's yard down the street. This neighbor left a note on our door which had been picked up by the neighbor who picked up our paper and mail. I had been looking for Oreo, but it wasn't uncommon that he wasn't around. It was after 1am when we got in. I was a little concerned that he hadn't eaten much of his food. It was the next morning when we heard news about the note, but we didn't know what the note said. I had figured it was an irrate note about "stray cats" or something. But the note asked if we were the owners of a very large black and white cat with bells on his collar. It was the "BAD NEWS" part that sent chills down my spine. A phone call confirmed it. I don't want to give the impression that we actually found Oreo dead though what I wrote does sound like that.


I should have wrote "...come home to find out one of our..." ~CR]


[This message was edited by Sissy-n-CR on December 30, 2002 at 03:26 PM.]

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I am so sorry for your loss.

I once lost a member of my "family" while gone to work. Our minivan has a removable seat and in a hurry I leaned it against the dining room table. Sometime during the day the cats apparently were checking it out and they flipped it over backward. It trapped one of them underneath. When I got home I found him under it, scratches all over the seat where the other 3 tried to get him out. They were all tramatized for about a week and avoided that part of the dining room. I post this so nobody else will have to go through it!

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Sorry about your cat. I would suggest not putting collars or bells on cats that are not house cats. Since they are hunters, they may need to survive on those birds one day. I don't think you could have anticipated the bell getting caught the way it did, maybe your post will help prevent this from happening to some other pet owner.

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Oh Sissy, I am so sorry to hear about your kitty. It breaks my heart. For some of us, our pets are like our children.. and I would have a hard time with that situation.. would blame myself because the cat would be alive if I had done something different with the collar. I honestly believe things happen for a reason, and maybe the reason this horrible accident happened to your kitty was to teach all the rest of us a little lesson. I thank you for sharing your story with us. I am going to check the collars on all my cats tonight.

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i am so sorry for your loss. i just recently lost a cat to old age, died in the middle of the night & 2 1/2 weeks later another cat died from a broken heart. he adored her, he adopted her as his mother when i found him. i keep thinking i should have notice he wasn't taking her death well, but neither was i... don't blame yourself tho. who knew that would happen? big hug to you

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...so I can only imagine what you must have gone through when you found your pet upon returning from your trip.


Although - in hindsight - you can see ways that you might have prevented the accident, you had no way of anticipating what happened (don't blame yourself). Take some comfort in the knowledge that your warning may very well save others from going through the same thing.



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I had a similar thing happen in 1976.


My cat Gismo goes through strech collar at the rate of about 6 a year (most are found sooner or later). Some people may not understand why I don't just get a regular collar. It's just hard to forget.


I feel for you.



Unknown objects are operating under intelligent control... It is imperative that we learn where UFO's come from and what their purpose is... - -Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter Director, Central Intelligence Agency 1947-1950

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Recently lost my 17 year old tom "chisol". I haven't the heart yet to have another! He was a fixed 19 pounder tabby with big blue eyes and a heart of purrr.


At least you have others, -big smile-


** The worst suggestion of a life time may be the catalyst to the best idea of the century, don't fail to listen to suggestions.

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I feel for you I love my dog like a child and going thru that would just kill me.I notice that people are mentioning things that could of been done in hindsight but if hindsight was forsight we would never have any problems.I hope you are not beating yourself up over this, things happen it sucks, I am trully sorry for your loss.

Big Tom

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Originally posted by CoronaKid:

Just a suggestion. It might help you to get over your loss. I still remember my childhood dog and how painful it was when we had to put her to sleep.




I had thought of a cache, but thought it might just be a painful reminder.


But a TB on the otherhand. That would be more inline with his spirit. He did roam quite a ways.


I think that's an excellent idea.







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Man, that's rough! I'm a cat lover and we currently have one. We lost one to a coyote 15 years ago...we heard Milburn scream as he was being killed about 2 am. Very disturbing. It took me a long time to get over that.


With our current cat, we don't let her out at night because of that. She's a great little hunter though...her name is Una and sometimes I'll call her the "Little Cougar" She even got a squirrel once.


Hang in there. Sorry to hear about your cat. They really are family members...not just pets.

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We are sorry to hear the loss of your family kitty. Our 14 year old sheltie passed away last year and we still shed tears when we think of the times we had. Cherrish the memories of you sweetie and remember she'll be with you watching from above when your out searching for the caches.

Greetings from Canada. All the best in 2003


*****The other day I was playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died.*****

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