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Cat Miraculously Survives Euthanasia - Twice

By Kimberly Porter    October 20, 2011 at 12:32PM / (22) comments

A cat in Utah is now down to seven of its nine lives after surviving not one, but two failed attempts to euthanize it.

The female cat, a former stray now named Andrea, was picked up by animal control and placed at the West Valley City animal shelter, where she was held for 30 days. She was then placed into a carbon monoxide gas chamber with several other cats. Amazingly enough, when the chamber was opened afterwards, Andrea was found alive inside.

The staff at the shelter attempted to euthanize her again shortly after, in the same gas chamber. The procedure initially appeared to have worked. Her vitals were checked and she was declared deceased, put into a plastic bag, and then placed into a cooler – common procedure post-euthanasia. About 45 minutes later, "meows" were heard coming from inside the cooler.

"They opened the bag and there she was — a little bit confused and frightened, and still alive," said Aaron Crim, spokesman for the city. "She’s definitely an amazing little cat. She’s not going to be put down; she’s kind of a mascot for cats."

Clearly, there will be no third attempt to take the life of this resilient kitty. Janita Coombs, a volunteer with Community Animal Welfare Society (CAWS), has taken Andrea in for the time being. An official announcement on the CAWS website states that while Andrea does appear to have suffered some neurological damage, it seems minimal, and she is eating, drinking, and using her box fine.



Image: Djamila Grossman / via People

Comments  22

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  • cat survives euthanasia
    10/21/2011 05:22pm

    This is a story that, on the surface, seems warm and fuzzy, but is dark underneath. Is the monoxide chamber humane? I don't think so. I admit I have some feelings about this because of methods used by the Nazis, before they figured out more efficient ways, such as Zyklon B. I had an experience at one time, when I was renting a house that turned out to have an improperly installed gas heating system. I fell asleep on the living room couch, woke up feeling severe discomfort, light-headed, anxiety, could barely walk. I staggered outside and began to feel better after a few minutes. I realized what was happening, went back in the house and shut off the heat, then went to find my two cats. There was a window cracked open in the bedroom upstairs and the cats were on the sill with their noses stuck out. They were fine once I got them out. When I called the gas people they confirmed dangerously high levels of monoxide. I write this to support my opinion that this is not a humane method. People seem to approve of it simply because it is not traumatic or bloody, and I am appalled. Monoxide causes discomfort, anxiety, and a slow death via asphyxiation. One may or may not be conscious through much of this. I know the unfortunate realities, but I feel sorrow at any euthanasia except to provide termination of suffering.

  • 10/21/2011 06:38pm

    I had the same response as lefty. I am horrified that a monoxide chamber is still in use anywhere.. I am equally horrified that the kitty's vitals was supposedly checked (I have my doubts) and was placed in a cooler, obviously still very much alive.

    Hopefully this story has the authorities checking euthanasia methods at this shelter.

  • 10/22/2011 07:30am

    I totally agree with both of the previous posts. I think the gas chamber should be outlawed because it is insumane.

    You know...humans used to be put to death in a gas chamber or electrocution. I think almost all states now use a needle.

  • cat survives euthanasia
    10/24/2011 01:34am


  • just plain sick
    10/30/2011 01:09am

    trying to kill her once was not enough, the real horror is how aaron crim describes the second attempt. He could be talking about socks he speaks as if it is no big deal.

    Is there anyway to adopt this poor cat and get her out of the hands of animal control before they decide to gas her again? (Animal control here in Jersey is just as inept and useless too)

    10/31/2011 04:50am

    What century is this place in UTAH in? This is so disturbing to think they still use this method. These
    animals have no rights, and this facility should be
    "charged with animal cruelty", the very thing they say
    they prevent! Ha! As the overpopulation of our loving
    companions has reached record #s, the people who are
    supposedly trying to help, have become so hardened and
    heartless, to them it's a job. I used to volunteer at one of these places until they eliminated a free "dog training" program for all dogs adopted there. It greatly reduced the return rate of adopted dogs. ALL of my animals, past and present, have all been rescued from shelters. Where is the ASPCA when you need them?

  • 01/04/2012 01:29am

    Why would you say the "overpopulation of our loving
    companions has reached record #s," Are you saying that because of all the animals in shelters? What is over population? More animals are being adopted now then ever in the past. If you look through classifieds, there are thousands of breeders selling puppies. There is high demand for animals and often the demand is not being met. Dogs are being smuggled into America to meet demands. I hardly think there is an over population. But then, I am not sure what you are referring to as over population.

  • 01/04/2012 03:26am

    Do you live here in the USA and are you serious that you don't think that there is a OVERPOULATION PROBLEM because you see ads in the paper for dogs for sale???
    Have you ever been inside an animal shelter or have you ever volunteered at one. Have you ever heard the term "puppy mill" ? There are hundreds of thousands of those where dogs live in cages so small they can't turn around, live in there own feces, their only purpose in life is to have litter after litter, never, ever knowing the kindness of a human touch????? The economy has also taken it's toll on our loving animals, people losing their homes either leaving their animals behind to fend for themselves or to be dropped off at a shelter, to be euthanized. Over 4 MILLION animals a year are put to death, right here in the good old USA. Open your eyes.

  • 01/04/2012 05:32pm

    Yes, I live in the USA, yes, I have been inside of shelters, yes, I have rescued and yes I know there are millions of dogs killed each year in shelters. What are the breeds of the dogs in shelters and rescues? More important, what is the average age of a dog in the shelter? They are not puppies. They are adult dogs and seniors. Not everybody wants a Pit bull breed. Not everybody wants an adult dog. Don't misunderstand me, I feel that anybody who wants a dog should always check the shelters and rescues. If the dog they want is not there, they should be willing to look further. Getting a pet is a responsibility for the life of the pet. So people should be willing to search and network through the shelters and rescues to find what they are looking for. There are so many dogs in shelters because people feel that the shelter is the place to dump a dog they can not take care of, did not take the time to train, the dog ate the shoe, barks too much. Maybe the person had to move and can not take the dog and does not care enough to properly re-home the animal. The shelters are full of animals because people think animals are a throw away item. There is not enough dogs to meet demand, or else the puppy mills would not be able to stay in business. Do you realize how many dogs are purchased online from breeders and puppy mills? Do you think all these breeders would stay in business if there was no demand for dogs? Do you know how many dogs are being smuggled into the country, due to breeding restrictions and not being able to meet demand here in our own country? Do you realize the health problems that come with these smuggled dogs? Talk about puppy mills, we are unknowingly supporting the puppy mills in Mexico and other countries that are now making money bringing their puppies into America. If there was a dog over population, all of these people that breed, would find another way to make a buck. Mandatory spay/neuter has made for smaller gene pools. I just don't see an over population, I see uneducated, irresponsible people who think dogs are something you just get rid of when tired of.

  • 01/04/2012 06:32pm

    Hopefully the proposed legislation which was introduced 2 weeks ago on a national level regarding online puppy mills might make a dent.
    Who knows. There are SO many spineless legislators.

  • Andrea the Survivor Cat
    10/31/2011 10:23pm

    I'm with all of you that think this form of euthenasia is flawed! and TOTALLY agree with those that think the person--s that tried the second time were merciless! the same thing happened to a dog recently...only they let him live after he survived one try! It's just plain wrong. We need to be spaying and neutering, and supporting safe havens for animals, not killing them!

  • 01/04/2012 05:45pm

    So, in 10 years when all the animals have been spayed and neutered and it cost a pretty penny to buy your next pet, because they are so hard to come by, when most of the breeds no longer exist in America, limited gene pools make unhealthy animals, I bet then you will wish that you had advocated for responsible pet ownership and responsible breeding, rather then spay/neuter. We have been told to spay/neuter for so long, a good percent of our dog population is sterilized. Where will you get your next dog when your dog dies? And, again, don't misunderstand me. I totally agree with shelters and yes, the majority of the dogs should be spay/neutered. When all the shelters are empty and buying a dog cost a whole bunch of money because there are no breeders.. educate people to be responsible. Teach the children dog fighting is bad, animals have feelings.

  • 01/04/2012 06:39pm

    Pets shouldn't be easy to come by. For me, I dream of the day when pets are not so available. Because it's not about me, and how hard it would be for me. It's about them, as the more vulnerable and voiceless creatures.
    People certainly take care of their investments. They will not be taken so much for granted and 'thrown away' as you say. Only at this time will they be treated as the precious "commodities" that they are.

  • 01/04/2012 06:40pm

    I take it you are a breeder...

  • 01/09/2012 06:05am

    No, I am not a breeder and both of my dogs have been spay/neutered. They were not adopted but they were not bought either. A friend of mine owned the mother of my dogs and gave them to me. But because I did not plan to breed, I had them both "fixed". (being "responsible") I would like to discuss our view points further, but not sure if this page is the place, as our discussion is a little off topic. Thank you for your responses. (If we can discuss further here, please let me know.)

  • andrea the cat
    01/04/2012 02:08am

    How barbaric.
    Im sure many gassed animals survive this primitive and inhumane "procedure"- and simply suffocate or freeze to death in freezer bags because of incompetence or indifference or both.
    Her vital signs were checked- really? I guess maybe her heart skipped a beat for a minute?
    Gassing takes a long time. Its not quick, and our animals are terrorized to their deaths. Gas chambers are used simply because they're a cheap way to kill a lot of our animals. -Animals who to people that appropriate funds know full well don't have a voice to object to their depravity. Any backward state still using them should examine their priorities and ask
    themselves how better they can spend their money (and even in these lean times there is a LOT of money wasted and misspent) so they actually do right and do what any civilized people would do, which would be to actually care for those pets who have loved and served us for so long.
    There should be NO euthanasia anyway, what should exist are robust spay / neuter and adoption programs and education. But because we are too savage to repay our friends so, at least give them quicker, relatively less terrifying and more merciful
    deaths. God knows its the absolute least we could do. Shameful.

  • gas chamber
    01/04/2012 02:33am

    I continue to to be appalled. These animals are our friends, and want comparatively little, only to be loved, cared for, played with, etc. They are highly intelligent, and have feelings. As usual, my cat is sitting here by the computer as I write this, enjoying the occasional ear scratch. We need to have more respect for life in all forms. These companion animals love us, depend on us, and are a special part of our lives, if we are willing to accept that. I feel they are somewhere halfway between "animals" and people and may play in important role in our lives. They have something important to teach us. I am being absolutely serious here, not metaphorical or sentimental. Some recent studies have suggested that even rats have empathy. If so, what about cats or dogs, or even horses? We need to better than this.

  • youth in asia
    01/05/2012 12:52am

    I prefer education to legislation here, and I would not like to see those with limited means deprived of the opportunity to have a cat or a dog. And what about the way children are sometimes treated? Sometimes I have thought that some people should be spayed or neutered, but as a society we are not about to go there. If anyone can have children, why should we legislate or attempt to control who may have a pet? I don't believe too much outside control is good. I have spayed/neutered my cats for a long time, but have also in the past had kittens and have found good homes for them. It is also an experience worth having. I feel that having grown up with kittens as a child was a good thing If everyone spayed or neutered their animals, it is true that there would eventually be few animals and a more limited gene pool. This has not yet happened, and if it did we would doubtless deal with it. It is still good if many people spay and neuter, but maybe not if everyone did. Perhaps this illustrates a possible objection to Kant's Categorical Imperative. That is, the notion that we should act in such a way that, if everyone acted in that way, the world would be a better place. Animals bring much to our lives, including great possibilities for growth and insight. If we make mistakes through lack of knowledge, we shall hopefully learn from them, and the end result is better in the long run, for the animals and for ourselves. Alas, the world is imperfect.

  • 01/05/2012 10:06am

    Well, your faith in humanity doing the right thing without legislation is touching. Alas, after seeing what depraved acts people are able to do - no doubt at least part of it is because animals are so easy to come by, notwithstanding serious mental health problems - I've done an about-face on that issue.
    Also, like many social programs which obtain asdvantages for poor folks, I can see programs like that for pets. However, even if such programs didn't exist, I would still advocate for less accessability to pets all over the place. They are the helpless and voiceless, we are not. It would just be too bad if getting a pet had more screening, etc.
    Not all people can find good homes for pets- If they could, less than millions would be surrendered to "shelters" every year.
    As far as the gene pool, like I said people take care of their investments. That is an easy enough issue to address, people know how that works - I agree it wouldn't be a problem. It's not like people don't know what to do to avoid it.

    Nevertheless and unfortunately, seeing the human race treating animals as valuable nationally, all over the world or whatever, and anytime in the future- is some thing I'm sure we won't ever have to concern ourselves about!! A pipe-dream, given the way most humans see themselves as intrinsically superior.

  • 01/05/2012 03:21pm

    I understand and respect your argument. I empathize with it. The only way I can really argue with it is to say that the cure is worse than the disease. My faith in humanity is not even that great, but I am choosing the lesser of two evils. Let me share a quote from Thomas Szasz, the old maverick psychiatrist.

    "In a free society everything that is not prohibited is permitted. In a totalitarian society everything that is not permitted is prohibited. In a therapeutic society everything that is not prohibited is mandatory."

    I live in Utah, where a Mormon establishment likes to tell everyone how to live, and attempts to legislate this when possible. I don't think this is all that productive.

  • 01/05/2012 03:32pm

    Thanks- I don't know where folks are getting this impression as if all should clamp down on spaying / neutering in an absolute way, I never said that. I did say I thought there should be "robust" spay/neuter and adoption programs. I did say also that there seems to be hopeful legislation regarding online puppy-mills, which certaily isn't everybody, and which certainly contribute a great deal of unnecessary suffering.

    Let me share a quote from Mahatma Gandhi: "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

  • FYI, everyone ...
    09/03/2013 03:31pm

    Veterinarians tend not to categorize what happened to poor Andrea as euthanasia. "Euthanasia" is a word derived from the Greek that means "good death." This is most certainly NOT what happens in shelters. These animals are *killed* because they are inconvenient to society. They are not *euthanized* in an effort to alleviate their suffering.

    As a veterinarian, I feel compelled to make this distinction plain. Whether it's the needle or a gas chamber, it's still killing in this context.