Following some tense moments -- and a furry surprise -- Boulder County animal control officers and Boulder firefighters managed to free a tomcat that was found with his head stuck in a pipe.
Mark Evans, right, with Boulder Fire and Rescue,
tries to maneuver the head of a cat that has its head stuck in a pipe,
with the help of veterinary technician Grace Worland, left,
and county animal control officer Brandy Perkins, center. (Marty Caivano)
Suzanne Engert, who lives in the 11000 block of Flatiron Drive in Erie, reported finding the black-and-white cat lodged in a large metal pipe around 12:30 p.m.
She said she walked behind her shed to see her garden when "something sort of caught my eye."
"This black cat was just laying there," she said. "I must have walked past the cat a couple of times."
Engert said it appeared as if the cat had been digging with its feet to try to free itself for some time. Animal control officers suspect the cat may have been stuck in the pipe for as long as two days.
After Engert tried unsuccessfully to free the cat herself, firefighters with the Mountain View Fire District arrived and cut away a section of the pipe so that officers could try to free it.
Despite efforts to lube the cat's head using vegetable oil and soap, the cat remained stuck.
So officials brought the cat -- pipe and all -- to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. There, Boulder firefighters worked with veterinary staffers and animal control officers to free the cat.
Following several tense minutes when it appeared firefighters could not break open the pipe without hurting the animal, the cat's head popped out to the cheers of a small crowd that had gathered to watch the rescue operation.
Brandy Perkins, a Boulder County animal control officer, nearly burst into tears.
"I'm really emotional," she said. "You have to love animals to do this job."
Perkins and her partner, Sara Spensieri, said they are sure the cat got stuck while chasing a rabbit into the pipe. But they didn't know that the rabbit in question was still in the pipe with the cat until Perkins was driving to the Humane Society.
"We were driving ... and I see this thing flying around the back," Perkins said.
The rabbit jumped out of the vehicle at the Humane Society and ran off -- escaping both the cat and the pipe.
Original Post by Heath Urie on 23/03/2011 dailycamera