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This is a story that is posted with the permission of the owner of a chinchilla that had a horrible and terrifying accident with a cat.  This person was not one of our clients, but after reading the story on a forum, we felt this would be a valuable eye-opening story to share and asked for permission to use it on our site.  Even though precautions were taken, this still happened.  This is being posted here in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers that can face chinchillas and other small (prey animal) pets.  This is a graphic story, so discretion should be used in reading it.  Thank you Kim, rest assured that Izzy won't be forgotten.

Izzy's Story

I have barely been able to stop crying the past few days. We lost Izzy to a cat swipe.  We did everything we could for her, but she was in so much pain and we had to make the decision.  We buried her in the backyard under a large maple tree.  I'm so heartbroken.  My sweet rat-faced little girl is gone forever.

The chin cage is in its own bedroom.  The cats are NOT permitted in the room.  Since we had an issue with Tifa before with the cats, we had installed a draft blocker for the space under the door.  All has been fine until this.  I went in and opened the cage to get food bowls/water bottle and left them out while I went to go clean their stuff.  I was gone maybe 10 minutes.  I came back towards the room and heard the "shriek"... Mya [Izzy's owner's cat] had MOVED the block (we don't know how... we can't recreate the movement and it was firmly in place) and gotten a paw under the door.  Izzy came over to explore and Mya snagged her.  I'm guessing, but she pulled away so hard and fast...

Her right foreleg from her shoulder to her paw was completely degloved [skin peeled off].  Muscle, tendons, bone exposed.  Crazy enough nothing was broken and her shoulder intact.  Scooped her up, wrapped her up in a towel and tried to keep her calm even though I was crying hysterically.  The vet had an initial look at her and we discussed the options.  We discussed and the two options were 1) see if it can heal 2) amputate.  Both had very small chances because of the risk of infection plus the fact she was in such bad shock and the most likely outcome was going to be losing her anyway after making her suffer in pain.  We took her home and made her comfortable, but we knew it was just buying us time to say goodbye.  She was in so much obvious pain and didn't deserve to be.

I have never cried so hard in my entire life.  Ever.  No death of family has even touched me like this.  This was our sweet Izzy - our sweet chinchilla with the freckled ears and nose.  I miss her so much and have no one to blame but myself.  I should have never left them alone - even for a few minutes.  I wish I could have that time back and have her back.

In light of her passing, we have installed several different additional safety measures to prevent anything like this happening to Tifa.  What happened to Izzy was a freak accident, but we want to prevent any other freak accidents.  I have *never* trusted my cats to be anywhere near chins and never will.  They are animals.  Things can/will happen.  I see people post pictures with their dogs/cats/whatever around their chin and it makes me cringe.

RIP Izzy
June 21, 2011

May your story be a lesson to all.


NEVER allow other animals to "play" or otherwise socialize with a chinchilla.  What may seem like harmless play can turn deadly at any moment before you can step in to stop it.  Being in the presence of a predator animal (dog/cat/ferret, etc.) can also be very stressful for a chinchilla, which can in fact, induce illness.  Countless videos are on YouTube of chinchillas "playing" with dogs and cats.  More often than not, what we see in those videos is actually defensive maneuvers and posturing by a panic-stricken chinchilla, NOT FUN AND PLAY!

Other animals may also carry pathogens, that while not harmful to themselves or to us humans, can make a chinchilla ill, possibly leading to death.

Allowing a chinchilla to socialize or "play" with other animals (with the exception of properly introduced other chinchillas), is an accident waiting to happen.  Please love your chinchilla by being its protector.