Everyone knows the cliché of firefighters rescuing cats out of trees. But car bumpers?
West Vancouver Fire & Rescue members are getting a scritch behind the ear for pulling a puddy tat from the rear end of an SUV at Park Royal Wednesday (July 6).
A family had gone to the mall to have high school graduation photos taken and brought their little black fur-family member, Kitty, with them.
"When the door opened, the cat jumped out of the vehicle and right into a small space in the back bumper of the car next to theirs," said assistant chief Gareth Michael. "You could see the tail hanging out."
The vehicle's owner came back, perplexed by the crowd's fixation with the back of her car. They opted to call West Vancouver Fire & Rescue for help.
Crew members arrived and scooched under the bumper plate with the tools needed to detach it. When they nearly had it off, Kitty bolted down the inside of the parkade. The firefighters gave chase and eventually corralled Kitty into a corner, where, with the help of the owner's gentle coaxing, they got Kitty back in the crate.
With the catastrophe averted, the grateful family posed for a photo different from what they had set out for – one with the West Van kitten rescuers.
Pet rescues are relatively common for crews on the North Shore, although they're more typically for dogs that have gone off trails or into creeks.
"This was a first," Michael said.
Cats present their own challenges, Michael said.
"I've been on several cat rescues myself using the 100-foot aerial apparatus, and it normally never ends well," he said. "Normally, the cat is so scared that it ends up carving up the rest of your arms. We use heavy (personal protective equipment)."
Once, Michael retrieved a cat from a tree and returned to a cheering crowd at the bottom of the ladder. The owner was nowhere in sight, and the cat made its escape.
"Well, what did the cat do? Climbed right back up the tree," he said. "We just have to maintain vigilance when we are transporting our pets or our loved animals and just ensure their safety."
Kitty's family did the right thing by calling for help, he added.
"If you feel that you need the assistance, we're highly trained. We have a lot of tools. We're dedicated servants of the community," he said. "I guess no call is too small."