MAPLEWOOD, Minn. — Felix the cat used up one of his nine lives last week after he survived a 45-minute trip through a washing machine.
“The personality on this guy is … it’s one of a kind,” said Felix’s owner, Stefani Carroll-Kirchoff of Maplewood. “He’s lovable, but he does get himself into trouble.”
The year-old black-and-white tabby is recovering from the Wednesday, June 19, incident, when, unnoticed, he climbed into a front-loading washing machine. He got water in his lungs and suffered a concussion, and veterinarians feared he could be permanently blinded by the laundry detergent.
But he’s proving to be resilient.
He still needs help breathing in an oxygen chamber while he recovers at the Animal Emergency and Referral Center of Minnesota in Oakdale. But he’s standing and eating and seems to be regaining his sight.
Carroll-Kirchoff said he must have climbed into the washing machine when she left for a moment to fetch more clothes.
Unknowingly, she shut the door and started the wash cycle. She said it was fortunate she had selected the express wash, which uses less water and takes less time. When she opened the door, she found the soaked Felix wrapped up in a towel and in bad shape. He was rushed to the animal hospital.
Carroll-Kirchoff’s daughter, Asha Carroll, started a GoFundMe page when the veterinary bills climbed into the thousands. As of Saturday night, more than $3,000 of the $5,000 goal had been met.
“I said to my daughter, ‘This is a feel-good thing,'” said Carroll-Kirchoff. “I didn’t know there were this many good people in the world. I have people reaching out and helping that I have never met before. I could never repay what they have done.”
Felix is missed at his household by two other cats, Nala and Bleu, who make up the Three Musketeers, Carroll-Kirchoff said.
The family noted on the GoFundMe page that such incidents have been reported before. They issued a warning to others:
“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. You can prevent an accident like this from happening.”