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5 Times Fire Departments Have Saved Cats' Lives

Firefighters may not rescue cats in trees anymore, but burning buildings? That's another story.

 |  Apr 11th 2014  |   7 Contributions

For most Americans, it wasn’t until the heroic actions of firefighters on Sept. 11, 2001, came to light that they began to understand just how amazing it is that these men and women are willing to risk their own lives every single day to save the lives of others. My own respect and appreciation for firefighters started long before then: About 18 years ago, a crew of volunteer firefighters saved my brother’s life and saved my family’s home from being destroyed by a runaway grass fire.

But firefighters don’t just save human lives: They save the lives of our precious furry family members, too. Here are some great stories of felines saved from flames.

1. Lancaster firefighters rescue six cats, including three tiny kittens

A Lancaster, California, firefighter reunites a mother cat with her three 8-week-old kittens after the little family was rescued from a house fire. Image: Screen capture from KTLA News video.

On Feb. 11, 2014, a fire ripped through a home in Lancaster, California. No humans were home when the fire broke out, but according to KTLA News, 15 to 20 cats lived inside. Although a number of them perished, firefighters did rescue six cats, including a mother and three eight-week-old kittens.

2. Nebraska firefighters save family cat’s life

A tearful reunion between a woman and her cat after a fire ripped through their home. Image: Screen capture from Grand Island Independent video

On a frigid early March day in Grand Island, Nebraska, an extension cord in an apartment overheated and started a fire that destroyed one apartment and took the life of a cat. However, the Grand Island Independent reports that another cat was found alive, and thanks to the firefighters who used a tiny oxygen mask to resuscitate him, a family who lost almost everything didn’t lose their beloved feline friend.

3. Firefighters resuscitate cat overcome by smoke

Firefighters administer oxygen to a cat overcome by smoke. Image: screen capture from KEZI News video

On March 26, 2014, a cat became the only casualty of a Newport, Oregon, apartment fire started by a broken toaster. The cat’s owners were already at work when the fire started, but according to KEZI News, when the fire department arrived, they found Psycho the cat lying unconscious on the floor. They took Psycho outside and brought him back to life by giving him oxygen through a child-size oxygen mask.

4. Seattle firefighters rescue cats trapped in burning house

Seattle paramedics give oxygen to two unconscious cats found inside a burning house. Photo courtesy of Seattle Fire Department

On March 26, 2014, the Seattle Fire Department found themselves fighting a fire that started on the back porch of a home. KOMO News reports that once the fire was out, they went inside the building to survey the damage and found two unconscious cats. They brought the felines out to paramedics, who resuscitated them with oxygen and got the cats back on the mend. It was touch and go, though; the medics even had to give the cats little tiny chest compressions to get them breathing again. No people were home at the time the fire broke out.

5. Fire department rescues cat stuck between two buildings

The Cape Coral Fire Department MacGyvered together an extra-long catch pole to rescue this cat stuck between two buildings. Photo courtesy of Cape Coral Fire Department

Nobody knows for sure how it happened, but on April 3, 2014, employees at a Cape Coral, Florida, chiropractor’s office heard a cat crying for help. Upon further investigation, they discovered that a cat had somehow gotten stuck in an eight- or nine-inch-wide gap between two buildings. According to the Cape Coral Times, animal control arrived at the scene first, but their catch pole was too short to reach the cat. The fire department came to the rescue, and combining the catch pole’s noose with a long pike generally used to pull down ceilings, they worked the cat out from the gap. He’s now safe and well and, at last report, waiting for his forever home at a local animal shelter.

The stories I listed here are just a tiny fraction of the thousands of stories about firefighters rescuing cats. Mad respect to the men and women who have the cojones to make a career of rushing into burning buildings for the sake of saving lives -- both human and animal. Thank you!

What’s your favorite story about a cat rescued from a fire? Do you know any firefighters or paramedics who have saved cats’ lives? Please share your tales of valor and compassion in the comments.

Read stories of rescue on Catster:

About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.


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