When it happened to Angel in 2014, they thought that it could never happen again. The Caledonia family assumed it was a fluke, a freak accident that saw their beloved family pet caught beneath the concrete driveway and the automatic garage door, an accident which ultimately crushed the cat to death. “Just a bad thing that happened and we didn’t expect it would happen again,” Carol Caledonia told local reporters at the time. In their town of 350 residents, even a cat’s untimely death could make headlines. Angel’s death fueled the local news cycle for weeks, as think pieces on the safety of automatic garage doors proliferated.
Now the Caledonias are making headlines again, because yet another family cat has succumbed to the garage door of their home, meeting its death because the garage door sensors failed to sense the cat slinking low along the ground. “You don’t think about it. You push a button and you don’t expect that pushing a button is going to kill your cat,” Carol Caledonia said. Strange though it may seem, the incidents have been traumatic for the family, whose members can’t help but blame themselves for what happened first to Angel and then to Piper, the most recent victim of their automatic garage door. This time around, the family has decided to sharing their story, in the hopes that sharing what happened to them can prevent another family from experiencing a similar loss. After taking pains to educate themselves at the local garage door manufacturer and retailer, the Caledonias say that some real and simple changes could protect your pets.
An expert told the family that the problem was the height of their garage door sensors. Sensors detect motion or obstructions in the path of the garage door, which signal it to stop closing or to reverse its course, preventing injury. These sensors work best when set at 8 inches or lower. The Caledonia’s garage door was likely set too high, and so they weren’t able to save Piper.