SACRAMENTO (CBS13) -- A Sacramento family blames the death of their kitten on a bucket of kitty litter. They want to warn others about the dangers of the bucket's flip-top lid.
Eli, 11, is mourning the loss of his kitten, Smokey, who died at six months old.
"I loved her," Eli said.
"She was part of the family," said Eli's parents Lindsay and Dave Hodge.
Smokey vanished in October. Then dad discovered her dead.
"Soon as I put my hand on her I knew she was...she'd died," Dave said.
The Hodges say Smokey managed to get in through the flip-top lid and suffocated in the kitty litter bucket.
"A product that is designed and manufactured for cats killed her," Lindsay said.
They didn't see the warning label saying: "Replace lid after use and store out of reach of pets. Open containers may present a remote safety risk to unattended cats or dogs."
"It's very, very tiny and it's right above the warning for the baby falling in the bucket, which makes you think it's about the baby in the bucket," Lindsay said, and added, "I would like to see them redesign the lid so you don't have the risk of the lid closing on the animal."
Nestle, the company that makes Tidy Cat Litter, sent us a statement that read, in part, "As a company of pet owners and pet lovers, we never want to hear about the loss of a pet. At Purina, the health and safety of pets is our top priority."
Nestle expressed its "deepest sympathy" to the Hodges and referred the family to the company's claims adjustor. The Hodges don't want money, they just want a re-designed lid. We asked if the company had considered that, and they didn't respond.
"Nobody should have to fear their cat could suffocate in a product made for animals," Eli said.
Keep those buckets out of reach of any animal or child. We struggled to find an agency that would take complaints and investigate something like this. The FDA oversees things like pet food, but not kitty litter. The Consumer Product Safety Commission oversees products that can harm people, but not pets.
"Losing a cherished pet is very difficult, and our hearts go out to the Hodge family," Nestle said in a statement
for more features.