Cat's life! Yorkshire firefighters called out 50 times to rescue pets just a whisker from escape
But it seems that it may not be too far from the truth. A Freedom of Information request by Yorkshire Cat Rescue found that 47 cats were rescued by fire services in the Humber, North and South Yorkshire, between June 2015 and June 2016 - with cats in Humberside the most daring, with 29 in need of rescue.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service rescued a further 30 animals from a height - but weren’t able to say if they were feline.
But Yorkshire Cat Rescue’s founder, Sara Atkinson, is urging people not to rush to call 999.
“Cats a notoriously brave and, sometimes, rather foolish in their activities,” she said. “It is not unusual for them to climb tall trees, buildings and utility poles. Most cats are perfectly capable of getting themselves down again, given time and perhaps a tasty incentive.
“The fire service has previously asked the public not to call them to rescue cats that appear to be stuck at height, and they are probably right most of the time. Being approached by a stranger in a uniform might have the opposite effect and result in the cat fleeing further up the tree.
“It might be safer and more successful to coax the cat down either with food or a toy. But be careful about climbing the tree or trying to reach your cat from the top of a ladder, unless you are very confident you can do so safely.”
Her message was echoed by Phil Shillito, director for public safety at Humberside Fire and Rescue Service.
He said: “Cats represent about a quarter of the animal rescues we carry out. We also attend rescues for dogs, horses, deer and other animals.
“We are a humane service and while this demonstrates one of the diverse activities we carry out - it’s not just about climbing ladders and spraying water - we would ask people to think twice about why they are contacting the fire service.
“A firefighter rescuing a cat means they are out of action should another emergency arise.
“We would always encourage pet owners to contact the RSPCA or cat rescue charities in the first instance.”
And it's not just rescuing cats from trees.
On July 12, crews were called to a house in Cleethorpes where two kittens were rescued from a cavity wall.
They used small tools, disc cutter and angle grinder and snake eye camera to locate the two small kittens who were stuck between adjoining properties.
Bricks were removed and the kittens were uninjured and left in the care of the owner.
Ms Atkinson added: “I’ve heard the quote: ‘you never see the skeleton of a cat up a tree’ and I guess it’s true. In my 25 years of running a cat charity, I certainly haven’t. Although we all love our cats and want them to be safe, it probably won’t hurt to wait a few more minutes and try a couple of alternatives before dialling the fire and rescue service.”
Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is recruiting new firefighters in the New Year and is holding open days throughout the summer for people to find out more about the service.
Events this month include an open day at Goole Fire Station on Thursday August 18; at Scunthorpe Fire Station on Monday August 22, and Hull Fire Station on Wednesday August 24. All events run from 2pm to 8pm.