Last weekend, a cat climbed up a pole in Princeton, British Columbia and couldn’t get down.
Then things got weird. What started as a classic cat scenario stretched into a days-long saga that involved bureaucratic stalemates, a social media campaign, government intervention, and a lot of poletop overnights for the cat.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Miss Kitty, an orange and white tabby, most likely climbed the sixty-foot pole while fleeing another neighborhood cat. Her owner, Bill Backhall, spotted her up there on Monday morning. Even beyond the height—the cat was six stories in the air—it was “a desperate situation,” he said. Nearby birds of prey were eyeing her as you might a skewered morsel. Video footage shows Miss Kitty meowing in distress while perched on the pole’s crossbeam. She needed to get down quick.
But when Backhall called the city for help, this average pet disaster turned into a full-scale bureaucratic nightmare. The pole was under the jurisdiction of provincial crown corporation BC Hydro, and it was supporting lines that carried 138,000 volts of electricity into a nearby mine. Taking an average cat rescue team up near such high-voltage wires wasn’t an option, but neither was switching off the power. Backhall and BC Hydro were at an impasse.
That’s when the public came to the rescue. After local cat lover Natalia Bosley learned of the situation, she took to social media, mobilizing backers under the hashtag #savethePrincetonBCcat. Worried neighbors surrounded the pole’s base with mattresses. Cats countrywide posted selfies in support. Even BC parliament member Dan Albas Tweeted his attendant anxiety.
As tensions heightened along with the cat, Bosley posted updates on Facebook. “Tonight will be its fourth night up there and it’s very scared,” she wrote on Wednesday. “It keeps climbing higher up the pole.”
The outcry worked. Last night, BC Hydro sent a crew from three hours away to bring down Miss Kitty in a special cherrypicker. “After” photos show her posing contentedly in a carrier, safe in the arms of a reflective-vested crew member.
As for Miss Kitty, hopefully four high-altitude nights were enough for a lifetime. According to Backhall, she will be staying inside from now on.
Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update, 4/16: The article has been updated to reflect the fact that BC Hydro is a provincial crown corporation, not a private company, and to fix the full name of the CBC. Thanks to Gord Richardson for the corrections, and we regret the errors.