It wasn't your average towering inFURno when a small black cat climbed a water tower in LaSalle, Colorado and couldn't get back down without a few helping hands.
That the cat somehow climbed the 85-ft-tall decommissioned water tower is one thing; finding out the tower was waterless after being converted to hold cellular communications infrastructure must have been a disappointment to say the least.
Faced with a perilous descent and with no Gilbert Grape around to coach him down, the cat did what cats typically do when stuck in trees: meow loudly and meow often! Perhaps the tower's height was a factor but after a couple of days pretty much everyone in LaSalle – pop. 2,050 or so – had heard his cries.
“It's a little bitty cat,” said Steve Flemming, founder of Fort Collins-based Technical Rescue Systems. “(I don't know) how in the world it got up there.” Flemming, a former firefighter, was contacted by LaSalle city officials due to TRS's experience in rescuing animals of all types, wild or domesticated. “I was like, ‘Absolutely, we're doing that,’ ” explained Flemming.
After reviewing a risk assessment provided by the LaSalle Fire Department, Flemming sent two firefighters up the tower with a pet carrier. Brady Thomas of the Greeley Fire Department and Daniel Winning of the Poudre Fire Authority moved with caution: if they spooked the cat it could panic and jump off the tower.
Luckily all went as planned and the cat, though complaining all the while, was coaxed into the pet carrier and gently lowered to the ground while a crowd of about 20 onlookers clapped and cheered. The cat, which appeared to be about 6 months old, was taken to the Valley Veterinary Clinic in LaSalle where veterinarian Dr. Anita Reeve took charge of his recovery.
“He's eating, he's drinking, he's very active, very loving,” stated Reeve. “It's just like he never missed a step,” she added. The cat wasn't wearing a collar and had never been microchipped so now that the cat's been declared good to go, the clinic is putting him up for adoption. If you're interested, you'd best act fast: LaSalle city officials have been collecting names for a list of potential adopters and at press time there were 9 applicants. As for a name, might we suggest “Leonardo DiCatrio”?