09:00 AM

New York City kitty stuck in a sofa earns Hambone Award for most unusual pet story

Nationwide’s 15th annual award recognizes uncommon pet insurance claims

Giles, a New York City cat whose story about being inadvertently smooshed under a sofa bed, has captured the 15th annual Hambone Award®, which recognizes the most unusual pet insurance claim of the year. Nationwide® presents the award annually to bring awareness to the unique and surprising things that can happen to pets – and how pet insurance plays a role in helping them.

Giles, who was named for a character in cult-favorite TV show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," was adopted from a cat rescue in New York City. He now lives happily in an NYC apartment with pet parents Reid and Kaitlyn. Reid explains how his family’s overnight visit led to Giles’ Hambone Award…and Giles’ newfound aversion to hinged objects.

Giles - Hambone Award

“My stepmom said, ‘Something has happened, and we're really sorry, but [Giles] got trapped under the couch.’ When they put the couch away, they didn't realize that he was under there and … the mechanism bopped him in the face pretty good.” Reid adds, “Luckily, we have a wonderful vet hospital just around the corner from us, so we were able to take him right there. Fortunately, it wasn't too bad. He did need some stitches … but he was the model patient.” (VIDEO about Giles’ story)

Kaitlyn and Reid decided to invest in pet health insurance after a costly trip to the veterinary hospital one Christmas Eve spurred them to seek coverage for future unexpected events. Fortunately, Kaitlyn’s workplace offered Nationwide pet insurance as a voluntary benefit and now Giles is among Nationwide’s more than 1.2 million protected pets.   

“Giles’ predicament shows just how easily an ordinary situation can become precarious for a pet,” said Dr. Jules Benson, Vice President, Pet Health and Chief Veterinary Officer for Nationwide. “We’re so glad that the quick actions of Giles’ family and their veterinary care team set him up for a speedy recovery.”

Nationwide hosted a public vote September 13-22, 2023, to determine the most unusual story and two runners-up from a field of 10 finalists. Giles, Kaitlyn and Reid receive the coveted Hambone Award trophy, a gift card, and a donation to be made in Giles’ honor to an approved pet charity of the family’s choice.

The runners-up were Jax, a snuggly pug from Las Vegas who got heat stroke while cozied up in a comforter following surgery, and Sunny, a determined Labrador retriever from Anaheim who shimmied his crate five feet across the room to ingest three phone charger cords. The families of Jax and Sunny each receive a gift card and opportunity for a charity donation to be made in each pet’s honor.

The Hambone Award was originally named after a Nationwide-insured dog who got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire holiday ham while waiting to be discovered. The dog was eventually found, with a licked-clean ham bone and a mild case of hypothermia. Visit this video playlist to check out the stories of all ten 2023 nominees.

All nominated pets have recovered and received reimbursements for eligible veterinary expenses from Nationwide® pet insurance.

To explore pet health insurance coverage for dogs, cats and many other kinds of pets, visit PetInsurance.com.