A “miracle” cat is still recovering after enduring the hot wash, cold rinse, and spin cycle in a family washing machine left him temporarily blinded and in critical condition with difficulty breathing.
His owner, described as a “devoted animal lover,” told KARE that she is normally obsessive about checking her three cats don’t find their way into the wash when she loads up the machine at their home in St. Paul, Minnesota.
But on June 19, somehow 1-year-old Felix sneaked into the machine.
“I must have turned my back for a few minutes folding clothes and he apparently went in there when I wasn’t looking,” Stefani Carroll-Kirchoff told Fox News.
Her daughter, Asha Carroll McCullough, described her mother as a “devoted animal lover” and said her mom called her immediately after she found Felix.
“She was crying so hard I couldn’t understand what she was saying and she said Felix went through the washing machine,” Carroll McCullough said.
“We feel so, so lucky. He is the miracle cat,” her daughter said.
According to the latest update from the family, on June 23 Felix was recovering well, but his lungs were still healing as he recovers in an oxygen chamber.
Felix was in critical condition when he was taken to the Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota, veterinarians said. They told Carroll-Kirchoff “it’s rare that cats make it through something like this,” according to her daughter, reported Fox.
“He’s truly a miracle cat, and our staff say he’s the sweetest patient,” wrote the vets on a Facebook page.
Felix’s miraculous survival might be partly due to the wash cycle being relatively short at only 45 minutes.
“One godsend is that it was on express wash,” Carroll-Kirchoff told KARE. “I am so grateful I didn’t leave the house and go and run errands.”
She said she was beside herself when she discovered the cat.
“I heard little meows. I looked around. All of a sudden I saw a little back foot go up in the air,” she said.
According to CNN, Carroll-Kirchoff works at a pet grooming salon and also volunteers at a wildlife rehabilitation center in her free time.
“I’ve been in shock the last few days,” she said. “I mean, this is going to haunt me for the rest of my life.”
Carroll McCullough set up an online funding campaign to raise the costs of veterinary bills for Felix, estimated at around $8,000 for eight days.
Writing on the GoFundMe page, she said that without the donations—currently standing at over $10,000—Felix would most likely have been euthanized.
“When my mom found him, he was soaking wet and barely breathing, confused and unable to see, with bruises all over his body,” she wrote in her initial post. The temporary blindness was caused by chemical burns to his corneas.
“Since then, Felix’s blood pressure and heart rate have returned to normal, and he has been eating a ton, using his litter box, cuddling with staff and family members, and even gave himself a bath this evening,” she wrote.
“If we raise more funds than needed to cover Felix’s vet costs, my family and I will be donating 100 percent of any excess funds to an animal charity of my mom’s choosing,” she wrote.
According to Carroll McCullough, the vets are very optimistic that Felix will make it through.
“So are we,” she wrote, adding, “The sheer fact that Felix survived the washing machine is a rare and tremendous feat of survival.”
“Thankfully, our extended family, our friends, and this community have continued to put forth the funds to help Felix breathe while his lungs heal. We will not give up now! Felix won’t either. I just know it.”