Did you hear the joke about the cat who found herself stuck up on top of a pole for four days?
Well, it happened over in Princeton, British Columbia, back in April of this year. But what started out as a humorous premise — you know, cocksure kitty climbs to the top of a 60-foot pole for reasons known only to herself and then realizes she’s actually completely stranded up there — turned into an epic four-day rescue mission that also involved a standoff between the energy company and social media savvy cat lovers.
First, let’s meet our feline protagonist. She’s called Miss Kitty, and she’s an adventurous ginger-and-white tabby. One morning, her owner, Bill Backhall, noticed that she had somehow managed to climb up a pole being used to run power lines. He estimated the height was equivalent to her being six stories in the air. It was “a desperate situation,” he realized.
After calling the city, Bill was told that the pole was under the jurisdiction of a company called BC Hydro. He was also informed that the power lines were carrying nearly 140,000 volts of electricity, so the idea of sending your everyday, run-of-the-mill cat rescue squad up there was out. Unfortunately, BC Hydro refused to turn the power off and didn’t seem to view the situation with either much sympathy or urgency.
“This is my cat up on top of a BC Hydro pole,” said Bill on a video uploaded to YouTube. “BC Hydro has been less than cooperative, including misinformation on two accounts.”
“She’s been up there four nights now,” he continued. “A couple of vultures were up there a couple of days ago; a raven was up there as I came down there today. This is a desperate situation.”
At this point, the social media circuit came to Bill and Miss Kitty’s aid. A local cat enthusiast named Natalia Bosley began an online campaign based around the hashtag #savethePrincetonBCcat. The campaign caught on, with online felines posting selfies of themselves with the hashtag, and even a BC member of Parliament, Dan Albas, tweeting about the situation.
With public outcry starting to build up, the suits over at BC Hydro eventually agreed to send a crew up to rescue Miss Kitty.
Of course, this wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. At first, Miss Kitty was perched on the uppermost left edge of the pole.
As the crew moved towards her in a mechanical cherry picker, she decided to saunter back over to the other edge of the pole.
As the crew duly moved back over to that side, Miss Kitty decided to drop down to a lower level.
After a few more skittish shenanigans, Miss Kitty was eventually scooped up, placed in a cat carrier, and brought down to the safety of terra firma.
Miss Kitty is said to be safely recovering from her high-stakes adventure at home now. Her owner insists that for the near future, she’s going to be living life as an indoor cat.