The struggle lasted for almost an hour.
Rhome Volunteer Firefighter Katy Wacasey found herself Thursday morning at the high end of a ladder trying to free an angry and injured cat who had managed to become entangled in telephone wire. It took a while, but she finally rescued the uncooperative feline.
J.D. Renfroe, who lives in the 300 block of E. Morton St. in Boyd, was working in his shed when he heard a terrible cry. He went outside to find an orange-colored female cat dangling 25 feet off the ground.
“I don’t know how in the world it ever got its foot hung,” Renfroe said. “Usually they just climb high enough to get away from a dog. I’ve never seen one climb all the way up to the wires before.
“I don’t know how long she’s been up there. She comes around here and I feed her sometimes, but I haven’t been able to get outside for a couple days because I was sick.”
The claws on one of its rear legs had become embedded and entwined in the metal guide wire, leaving the cat to hang upside down like a pair of sneakers tossed over the telephone line.
Wacasey responded with a ladder truck. Working alone, she scaled the ladder like a cat herself to approach the howling, helpless feline.
“One of her paws had become completely trapped in the guide wire,” Wacasey said.
Wacasey soon suffered several punctures and deep scratches to her hands while trying to pry the cat’s claws from the wire. Unable to free it, she cradled the cat in her arms so it wasn’t dangling free like a Christmas ornament from the utility line.
Wise County medics were called to the scene to assist Wacasey.
Medic Jacob Souder climbed the ladder to help pry the cat’s claw from the tangled wire.
“I used a spanner wrench,” Souder said. “It’s the wrench firefighters use to disconnect hoses. I used the prying end to undo the wire, and his foot came right out.”
Once freed, the cat immediately calmed down and settled into Wacasey’s arms.
“I’ve never been on a call like this before,” she said.
Wacasey, 23, has volunteered with the Rhome Volunteer Fire Department since she was a 16-year-old student at Northwest High School.
A Boyd police officer transported the cat to Boyd Animal Hospital. It was bleeding from the leg and mouth where it had tried to chew through the wire, and it might have sustained some broken toes in the ordeal.
The cat was wearing a flea collar, but no other sign of identification.
The hospital gave the cat a shot for pain and left her to calm down. Wise County Animal Control has since taken it. Because the cat did bite two people during the rescue, they are required to quarantine her for 10 days.
“She’s breathing really good on her own,” said Linda Bryan at the shelter. “We’ll do our best to keep her comfortable and stress-free while she’s here.”
As of press time, no one had contacted the shelter to reclaim her. If no one does after the 10-day quarantine period, she will be available for adoption.
“Orange tabbies are the sweetest cats,” Bryan said.
And in this case, one of the luckiest.