2011 has been quite a year for cats. There have been some incredible highlights and some horrifying lowlights, and now is as good a time as any to look back and share some of the most memorable stories of the year. Today, it’s time for the top five amazing rescues of the year.
#5: Tire Shop Employees Save Kittens from Watery Grave. In mid-May, Chris Sauter and Dave Borror arrived at the tire shop where they work and found a cat sitting on top of a storm drain grate, crying for help. When they went to investigate, they found four tiny kittens, soaking wet and shivering. They called 911 to report the feline emergency, and the Des Moines Public Works department and Animal Rescue League of Iowa quickly arrived on the scene. Borror helped the ARL officers fish the kittens out of the sewer with a net. The kittens were taken to the ARL’s shelter, where they were warmed up and given first aid. Thanks to two men who cared enough to see what was wrong, the four kittens were saved from certain death.
#4: Pregnant Cat Rescued from Freeway Overpass. In late April, drivers on the 60 freeway in Mira Loma, Calif., were horrified to see a cat trapped on top of a concrete barrier overlooking the freeway, 200 feet above the water. One of those motorists called to report the cat’s plight, and Riverside County Animal Services Officer Gary Pahls responded. With the help of the California Highway Patrol, Pahls climbed to the rescue. Once he had made sure the cat was safe, Pahls realized that she was pregnant, and that, judging from the road rash on her body, someone might have decided to take care of their cat’s unwanted pregnancy by ditching her on the freeway. The cat, now named Mira, is safe and sound, thanks to alert drivers, animal services, and the police.
#3. ‘Skin and Bones’ Cat Rescued From Tree. They say you never see a cat skeleton in a tree. But Baby almost proved that aphorism wrong. Suzanne Gannone’s cat escaped from her home and had been missing for nine days when the Franklin Township, N.J.. resident found the 9-month-old cat stuck high in a tree. Her local fire department didn’t have ladders long enough to rescue Baby, who was about 60 feet up. But they called in a neighboring fire department for assistance, and Baby was brought down safely. Baby was all skin and bones when she was rescued, Gannone said: She ate a whole can of cat food. I had to hold her all night. A great big thanks to New Jersey’s bravest for literally going out on a limb to rescue a trapped cat.
#2. Town Comes Together to Save Kitten Trapped in Storm Drain Grate. Samantha Bastoni of Pelham, N.H., got worried when her 9-month-old kitten, Tripp, disappeared one June evening and didn’t come back for breakfast. A neighbor, who knew she was looking for Tripp, told her he’d seen a kitten’s head poking out of a storm drain grate. Once area residents saw that the poor cat was hanging six feet in the air, wedged so tightly that he couldn’t even meow, they lifted the 100-pound grate out of the ground and called 911. Firefighters and a local veterinarian responded. The vet sedated Tripp and the rescue crews tried to lubricate his head with soap and pull him free. No joy. The firefighters set to work with torches and a circular saw, and cut the grate into a 1-foot-square piece around his neck, then rushed him to an emergency vet clinic. There, local firefighters were finally able to release Tripp from his trap. He was a little bit worse for wear after his misadventure, but he made a good recovery. I told one of the Pelham police officers that I felt bad that theyre doing all of this for my cat, Bastoni said, and she looked at me and said, Its a life too. It matters.
And the #1 Amazing Rescue of the Year is Man Stirs Up Hornets’ Nest to Save Kittens’ Lives! Jim Johnson was delivering tile to a Minnesota cabin when he heard crying noises. He followed the sound to a basement window well, where he found three tiny kittens fighting for their lives as they were being stung to pieces by hornets. He couldn’t just stand aside and let the poor things die, and he realized that the only thing he could do was to make the bugs madder at him than they were at the kittens. So he put on a large hooded sweatshirt and began whacking at the nest with a piece of lumber. The trick worked. He got stung a couple dozen times, but he saved the kittens’ lives in the process. Once the hornets were gone, he took the kittens to a vet, who estimated their age at about 3 weeks. One didn’t survive the ordeal, but the other two made a full recovery. Thank you, Jim Johnson, for being full of awesome, cat-loving goodness! You certainly deserve the #1 spot in our amazing rescue roundup.