Lights Out for Kitty: Maine Electric Company Shuts Off Town’s Power to Save One Cat

After being brushed off by her local fire department, a concerned resident calls the power company to save a cat stuck up a utility pole from being electrocuted.

JaneA Kelley  |  Mar 15th 2012


This story comes to you from the great state of Maine, home of good lobster, lousy Mexican food, and a meteorological and political climate that could best be characterized as interesting — in the apocryphal Chinese curse sense of the word. But what can I say? I live in Maine and I’ve got lots of cat-loving and cat-rescuing friends here, so when I get the scoop on cool cat stories in this rather neglected part of the country, well, I’ve just got to share.

It all started on Sunday morning, when a resident in the town of Hermon saw a long-haired cat near the top of an electric utility pole next door to the Hermon Fire Department. This individual called the fire department, figuring that they wouldn’t have too much trouble pulling a ladder truck out of the garage and climbing to the cat’s rescue … only to be told by the dispatcher that the fire department doesn’t do cat rescues.

I can understand the reluctance to rescue a cat trapped amid live power lines — that really is a job best suited to people trained in working safely in those circumstances — but still, it seems a little callous to flatly refuse any assistance at all.

What next?

Well, the cat was stuck at the top of a utility pole, so it was time to call the the electric company! Central Maine Power (CMP) said it would send a crew to rescue the freaked-out kitty, but after several hours they still hadn’t arrived. Not knowing what else to do, the individual placed a call to Forgotten Felines, an eastern Maine nonprofit that does TNR work with feral cat colonies and assists with placing adoptable cats in homes.

Forgotten Felines board member Pamela Hansberry tried calling the Hermon Fire Department again. And once again, the dispatcher refused to send anyone to the cat’s rescue. But maybe another call to CMP would yield a better result.

This time, it did. Within an hour, a utility crew was on hand to bring the cat to safety. The power company actually had to shut off the electricity in a large portion of the town in order to free the frazzled feline. And shortly afterwards, the linemen lowered the cat, a beautiful Persian look-alike, from its perilous position.

A Forgotten Felines volunteer arrived just as the utility crew was releasing the feline, who, according to the rescuers, was in good condition and definitely wanted down.

Here in Maine, we have a good reason to gripe about the power company — after all, we have some of the highest per-kilowatt-hour electricity rates in the country — but the people who work for the power company are, like most Mainers, people with good hearts. There aren’t many private businesses that would send a crew out on a Sunday to save a cat that was in serious danger of being electrocuted.

Funny to think that she probably caused her owners’ power to be shut off and they didn’t know it was because of their darling kitty,” Hansberry said on the organization’s Facebook page.

If you’re on Facebook and you want to give some love to Forgotten Felines, check out their page and give it a Like.