stranded on top of a pile of garbage making its way down the River Soar in Leicester, England. That individual called the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) to report the marooned feline.
In a story worthy of airing on the Irish TV show Animal A&E, the drama began to unfold.
RSPCA inspector Sally Kearns arrived at the scene to investigate. When she saw the cat’s plight, she figured it had jumped onto the trash pile, thinking it was solid ground. Because the flotsam was surrounded by duckweed, a common aquatic plant, the feline probably didn’t realize it was going to be set adrift as soon as it landed.
Kearns tried to grab the garbage mound with a long pole in hopes of pulling it — and the unfortunate cat — to shore. But instead of accepting the help offered by the RSPCA investigator, the cat leaped off the island and into the water, where it swam for the opposite shore and fled into the bushes the minute it reached solid ground.
If there were a British version of Animal A&E, I could imagine myself sitting on my couch with my cats, watching the series on the TV station’s website, enjoying the speakers’ East Midlands accents (I admit it, I have a thing for the numerous English, Irish, and Scots accents, perhaps because of early exposure to British TV shows on my local PBS station) and the happy-ending nature of the rescue — a far cry from the gruesome calls investigators face in gritty American “animal cop” documentaries.
The cat’s run-in with a garbage island may not be immortalized on video, but it is a good reminder that not every rescue is about saving animals from horrifying abuse and neglect. Sometimes it’s just something as simple — and even funny — as helping a cat in a very odd sticky situation or extricating an intoxicated moose from a tree.
In the two weeks since the rescue attempt, the RSPCA hasn’t heard anything about further river crossing attempts by the cat. “He did look quite pathetic on his floating island of rubbish,”Kearns said. “I suspect he won’t be getting back in the river any time soon.”