Monday Miracle
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Friendly Fire Crew Helps a Cat Escape From a Storm Drain

Nazzia got her head stuck in a grate, so firefighters got her out and back home.

Phillip Mlynar  |  Aug 15th 2016


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The Monday Miracle column has showcased many champion cats with special needs who have overcome physical and mental obstacles, kitties who have been part of death-defying rescue missions, and heartbreaking accounts of felines who have battled overwhelming odds to find their forever homes.

Sometimes, however, we also like to indulge in a feel-good story that involves smiling warmly at a cat who ends up in a totally self-induced predicament.

Nazzia, a one-year-old cat from the town of Winchendon, Massachusetts, is one such specimen. On a whim of her own choosing, she poked her head through the square holes in a storm drain and promptly became stuck.

Thankfully, the local fire department was not too stretched that day and was able to rescue curious Nazzia.

As a news post on the department’s Facebook page explains, on July 14, the staff received a call about “an unusual animal rescue.” While outside wandering around, Nazzia had found her way into the town’s drainage system. Deciding that it was a little too damp and pungent for her liking, she plotted to escape by, er, trying to fit her head and body through one of the holes in a storm drain grate.

Clearly, the old adage about cats using their whiskers to judge whether they can fit through an opening did not apply to Nazzia.

When three firefighters arrived, they found Nazzia in a right old quandary. She was basically hanging from the grate, and she seemed to be starting to struggle for breath.

The first step in Nazzia’s rescue was to carefully remove the drain cover and set it (and the cat) upright. This allowed Nazzia to assume a more comfortable position — but she was still mightily stuck.

The firefighters found the cat’s owner and asked him to bring them dish soap. After carefully applying it to Nazzia’s neck and soaping up the metal grate, they slowly worked her head out backward.

“Within a couple of minutes we freed the cat,” they revealed triumphantly on Facebook.

As word of Nazzia’s rescue spread, local news outlets hopped on the story. As the fire department put it in a further online update, “With all the horrific tragedies we see lately on the news, I guess our successful cat rescue yesterday just makes people feel a little better.”

If you were wondering, Nazzia has recovered from her ordeal (including her dish soap beauty session) and is safely recuperating and drying off at home. As her owner told the world via Facebook, “She’s embarrassed but doing good now.”

You can follow the Winchendon Fire Department on Facebook — although the account might not exactly be a hot spot of cat-based content.