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Va. firefighters rescue kitten trapped on interstate pillar

Newport News firefighters were called on for their ladder truck to rescue “Ledge Cat”


Newport News Animal Welfare/Facebook

By Colin Warren-Hicks
The Virginian-Pilot

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — All it took was a simple and direct text message, and the emergency dispatchers instantly knew the evolving situation on the ground had changed.

“I’m gonna need fire,” the message read.

Newport News Emergency Communications Center dispatchers Flora Soule and Katy Thomason immediately called for a change of tactics — hastening a fire truck to get to the scene in time — according to a press release.

An emaciated cat was in danger, stuck on the ledge of a cement column that supports an interstate overpass.

Firefighters, state police, animal shelter, animal referral and animal welfare center staff as well as the dispatchers would all contribute to the life-saving measures that ultimately ensured the feline’s survival.

The tale began Wednesday.

A concerned citizen called Newport News Animal Welfare Division, alerting authorities that they’d spotted a cat on the interstate. Soule and Thomason provided Virginia State Police with the cat’s location.

Authorities headed that way and quickly learned they’d received inaccurate information about the animal’s exact whereabouts. The cat was not on the interstate. The cat was on top of the cement pillar, and Soule and Thomason received the text.

“I’m gonna need fire.”

Newport News firefighters arrived 15 minutes later, and three wearing cat cloves and armed with an animal transfer cage scaled a ladder. During their ascent, the cat skirted away and back toward the opposite side of the pillar.

Lt. Pat Primeaux reached out. The cat moved forward. Premieux kept his hand still, outstretched. She drew even nearer and then pranced right into the lieutenant, bumping his hand with her head.

Firefighters discovered the cat’s front paw was pinned inside her non-breakaway collar which had embedded into her leg, which was cut and infected. They found several burns on her paws and additional lacerations.

The feline, which authorities began referring to as “Ledge Cat,” was dehydrated and emaciated — weighing just over 3 pounds.

Emergency responders drove Ledge Cat to Peninsula Animal Referral Center, and Dr. Rachel Gunther and her vet care team stayed hours past the center’s closing time to suture her wounded leg.

On Thursday, Ledge Cat was escorted to the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter, where she was accessed by more veterinarians and put into the shelter’s system.

Later that day, Soule arrived at the shelter and took Ledge Cat home — with plans to foster her.

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