A kitten called Scampi had a lucky escape after he climbed into a washing machine moments before it was put on a spin cycle.

The inquisitive eight-week old ginger and white cat hopped into the washing machine when owner Frances Leate, 29, left the room to gather some washing.

Ms Leate, of Colchester, Essex placed more clothes into the drum and switched the load on for a 40-degree wash.

The mum-of-one was texting friends when she suddenly realised Scampi was not about and a “feeling in the pit of her stomach” told her what had happened.

She rushed into her kitchen to be confronted with the awful sight of the the washing machine filling with water before starting to spin.

Ms Leate switched the machine off but the water remained in the drum and the automatic lock initially prevented her from opening the door.

“I could see his little body squashed up against the glass. He was looking out at me and it was just awful – I could see that he was drowning and I was desperately trying to get the door open,” she said.

With Scampi struggling to keep his head above water, she dashed outside and frantically asked neighbour Pam Morris to help.

The pair finally managed to open the door and pull the sodden and lifeless moggy from the machine.

Finding that her pet was still breathing, Ms Leate rushed Scampi to the vets where after an overnight stay he made a full recovery.

She was told the little kitten had a large amount of water on his lungs and was extremely lucky to be alive.