Campbell River firefighter Chris Vandendries attempts to pull a feral kitten to safety from inside the wall where it was trapped for 48 hours at the local SPCA branch.

Firefighters rescue kitty from wall

Firemen were brought in to perform a unique confined space extraction at the Campbell River SPCA

Firemen were brought in to perform a unique confined space extraction at the Campbell River SPCA where a feral kitten used up at least one of its nine lives stuck inside a wall.

Unlike the traditional cat-stuck-in-a-tree rescue, firefighters used a heat-sensing camera and a sledgehammer to rescue this cat Dec. 22, which had fallen about seven feet into a cinder block wall.

The kitten, which arrived at the local SPCA office on Tuesday, Dec. 20, had been trapped in the wall for 48 hours before fire crews were called in.

The animal was brought in along with another kitten, after a farm owner on Read Island captured the feral animals. When SPCA staff tried to remove one of the animals from the plastic tote they arrived in, the wild animal spooked and jumped onto a windowsill. From there, it fell through a gap in the cinder block wall. After two days of failed attempts to lure the animal out with food, help was called in, said SPCA animal care worker Stephanie Arkwright.

With the help of an infrared camera, firefighters determined where in the wall the kitten was located. Captain Ken Dawson and firefighter Chris Vandendries then hammered away at the wall above the kitten’s hiding spot.

Even once the hole in the wall revealed a black ball of fur, the determined cat sought to burrow further from its rescuers. Wearing safety goggles and fire fighting gloves, Vandendries was finally able to pull the cat out and place it safely into a crate.

Adoption program makes a difference

Campbell River SPCA manager Kathleen Embree reported that a new SPCA policy to allow adoption right up until Christmas, promoted through a provincial campaign called “Home for the Holidays” has seen many successful adoptions from the local animal shelter. At a time when shelters are often full, the local SPCA is grateful to have some breathing room, Embree said.

Across the province more than 4,000 animals were awaiting adoption at SPCA branches.

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