MORE than a dozen rescuers spent a freezing night trying to save the life of a trapped feral kitten – only for the feline to wander out unaided the next day.
Remarkable pictures show firefighters, animal charity staff and members of the public trying to rescue the kitten from a pipe in a waste dump on Saturday night.
One woman even drove 15 miles before making a rope from a dressing gown cord and a scarf to lower into the pipe with some chicken to tempt the kitten.
The rescue bid had to be abandoned late at night when the Locharmoss Waste and Recycling Centre in Dumfries closed. It was expected the kitten would die overnight as temperatures dropped below freezing.
But the kitten – since nicknamed Stig – was spotted and grabbed by a worker the following morning and is now being cared for by an animal charity.
The drama began on Saturday evening when Stig got into a cable pipe underneath a portable building at the recycling centre.
After the trapped cat was reported by staff, a crew of firefighters turned up as well as staff from Cats Protection and the SSPCA. At least eight members of the public also arrived to help out after the rescue was posted on Facebook.
Amy Hoffman, who lives 15 miles away in Anna, saw the post, put her children in the car, and joined in the rescue.
The 23-year-old, who documented the rescue on her mobile, said: “It was such a small pipe, it was about the width of my palm.
“I don’t know how it got in there, I think it got in through another part of the building. It was so difficult to get to, they just couldn’t get to it, it was right underneath the cabin.”
She added: “I needed to do something. I’d never even been there before, but I couldn’t just leave it like that. I got my boys’ shoes on and we went for a drive. I took what I thought might help, so some chicken, a dressing gown cord and a scarf.
“I thought if I used something thin enough it would be able to climb back up on it’s own, if it had something to stick its claws into.”
Fiona, co-ordinator at Cats Protection Dumfries, is now looking after Stig.
She said: “I got there at about half past nine. It’s hard to tell how many people were actually there, the SSPCA were out there before me and then the firefighters came out later too, and there were other people who came and went.
“I left just before midnight, and there was no sign of it. Then at lunchtime the next day I got a phone call saying it had been found, and someone had jumped out of a moving cabin to grab it.”
Fiona says Stig is improving, she added: “I’m not sure what gender it is, it’s really hard to tell at this point, but I feel like she’s a girl. She’s had two baths now, she was pretty smelly.
“She’s a feral cat so her hair was all matted, and god knows what she was covered in, I was worried it was petrol or something poisonous and she might lick it off. I took her to the vet for a check up and she’s doing much better.
“She’s sitting in a cage in my kitchen screaming at me, she’s eating and using her litter tray and is a lot more lively.”
Donna Palmer was among those who followed the rescueon social media. She wrote: “Great news. I was following the post and very fearful of the outcome. She’s gorgeous.”