If cats have nine lives, Maplewood feline Felix might be down to eight.
The tuxedo cat was found last Wednesday inside his owner Stefani Carroll-Kirchoff's washing machine, having ridden out the entirety of a wash cycle, according to the GoFundMe page set up by her daughter Asha Carroll McCullough to cover Felix's hospital bills. The cat survived the ordeal, but emerged bruised, blinded, and barely breathing. An entry on the page describes what happened:
"Three hours ago, my family's one-year-old cat, Felix, was found inside their washing machine after a wash. He had just survived inside the washing machine through the duration a 35-minute wash cycle, unbeknownst to them. When my mom found him, he was soaking wet and barely breathing, confused and unable to see, with bruises all over his body. 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; only time will tell."
The family believes Felix hopped into the washer drum while Carroll-Kirchoff wasn't looking. They implore cat owners to keep washer and dryer doors shut when unattended. "You can prevent an accident like this from happening," McCullough wrote.
To help cover the cost of Felix's recovery, a GoFundMe page set a goal of $15,000. By Wednesday morning, 530 people had raised more than $15,000 for the cat.
McCullough's call for crowdfunding included a touching note about Felix:
"He's my favorite cat that I've met -- doglike, almost, super attached to his humans, a darling, cuddly, curious sweetheart of a cat. He's an amazing companion, and would sit in my lap every day as I worked from home while visiting. He was born on my cousin's farm in Minnesota, and has a wild sense of adventure. (Obviously.) Pure personality. Vibrant. I've just fallen in love with him, and my entire family has. He is an important member of our family. (And he's a Hemingway cat! He has thumbs.)"
Felix is currently under veterinary care at Animal Emergency and Referral Center of Minnesota in Oakdale, where the family hopes he will regain his sight and full lung and brain function. An update on the GoFundMe page indicates that Felix's condition is improving but a release date has not been set.