A CAT has survived a 20-minute ordeal in a washing machine and is only a little the worse for (wash and) wear.
Lila, an eight-year-old Burmese, crawled into Kerri Rodgers' front loader while she had her back turned.
Lila can thank the Rodgers family's other cat, Peppa, a rescue from Four Paws, for saving her life.
Peppa sat scratching at the closed laundry door while Mrs Rodgers went about the rest of her housework.
"I finally let her in and she just sat there, staring at the glass door, and then I heard the thudding and I put that together with Lila's curiosity and I realised what was going on," Mrs Rodgers said.
A shocked Mrs Rodgers thought the worst when she could only see one very still paw in the washing.
"I rang my husband. I screamed, 'I've killed Lila!'" she said.
Lila had been in the washing machine for 20 minutes but it had fortunately not yet reached the spin cycle.
Mrs Rodgers switched the power off and waited a gruelling two minutes for the door to unlock.
She hauled the wet cat out, wrapped her in a towel, and raced from her Currimundi home to the Nicklin Way Veterinary Surgery.
Lila was treated for mild hypothermia, some lacerations, concussion and toxic poisoning.
The washing powder had ulcerated one of her eyes and she had another ulcer where she had bitten through her lower lip.
She went home after a couple of hours but was back the following day for two nights on a drip.
Lila's eye has healed, her lip is on the mend and she does not appear to bear any mental scars.
She comes and goes happily from the laundry, where her basket sits atop the dryer.
But Mrs Rodgers is taking no chances when she does the washing.
"When she came home, and I did that first load of washing, if I checked once I checked three times," she said.
Veterinarian Doug Gray said it was not unusual for cats to get into washing machines but most went the full cycle and did not survive.
"It's not a unique event at all. It does happen, particularly with front end washing machines," he said.
"People should always make sure that their cats haven't crawled in and made a nice comfy bed."
Mrs Rodgers said it was fortunate that she had set the machine on a 30 degree quick wash rather than the 60 degree setting she often used.
Lila, a curious cat who has ventured into the washing machine before while it has not been in use, was chastised by Peppa when she returned home.
"Peppa hissed at her. I think she was saying, 'You stupid girl. Don't do that again!'" Mrs Rodgers said.