Family Cat Miraculously Survives 35-Minute Washing Machine Cycle. But The Danger Isn’t Over.

Cats are inquisitive creatures. And unfortunately, much of that innately curious nature is directed at the washing machine.

One Minnesota family learned new dangers of doing laundry with a kitten in tow after their one-year-old tuxedo, Felix, climbed into the washing machine when no one was looking.

“I had checked the washer like I always do but turned my back to retrieve more clothes and he apparently went in then,” Stefani Carroll-Kirchoff told USA TODAY. “The clothes were dark and he is dark and the room was dimly lit.”

Another cat expressing interest in this curious appliance. Photo: Flickr/ kahvikisu

Felix completed an entire washing machine cycle before anyone noticed he was missing. It wasn’t until the 35-minute session was complete that Carroll-Kirchoff noticed a bedraggled paw and weak meowing. (One upside: Felix’s mother opted for the quicker express cycle, which may have saved the cat’s life).

“When my mom found him, he was soaking wet and barely breathing, confused and unable to see, with bruises all over his body,” Asha Carroll McCullough wrote in a GoFundMe page raising money for Felix’s emergency care. “My mom, grandpa, and brother rushed Felix to the emergency vet, where he is right now, in critical condition.”

“He has fluid in his lungs and is connected to oxygen. His heart rate and blood pressure dropped upon arrival, and it is suspected that he has hypothermia. He is experiencing blindness, which could be temporary or permanent,” she explained. “Only time will tell.”

And while Felix’s family fervently prays their beloved cat will pull through, there is at least one tiny sliver of good news. The GoFundMe page had just exceeded its $15,000 goal, which will certainly help Felix’s family, who was forced to take out an extra line of credit to cover the cat’s soaring medical costs. (Any surplus funds will be donated to an animal charity.)

In the meantime, Carroll McCullough is calling on all cat parents to practice extra vigilance. “To those of you with cats, PLEASE always close your washing machine and dryer doors in between washes, and ALWAYS check your washing machine and dryer doors prior to beginning a wash,” she wrote. “You can prevent an accident like this from happening.

You can donate to Felix’s GoFundMe page here!

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J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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