PINEDALE – Sammy the cat often stays out nights and roams but after a second day, Maike Tan went out looking for her very large and furry feline. Finally, after dark, she heard his piteous meows to discover he was perched on top of a 35-foot power pole in her pasture.
“I have no idea what could have frightened him to go up there,” she said Wednesday.
Even the “can of albacore tuna” trick couldn’t lure Sammy down, so he spent a second night on his perch. Tan awoke Wednesday to start making phones calls, worrying he might never come down. The county dispatcher was very sympathetic, but found no takers for the cat-on-a-pole call-out.
Sammy’s long grey and white coat ruffled as a cold wind picked up Wednesday morning but he still would or could not budge. Tan checked out renting a cherry-picker – and even a 45-foot ladder – and her friends started networking. Jeanne Brown’s call to Pinedale mayor Bob Jones resulted in the suggestion: “Call Chris Nelson.”
Nelson, who works for Rocky Mountain Power, immediately came over to assess the rescue situation. Yes, his company’s lines were on that pole – and the one by Sammy’s right paw was coursing with 14,400 volts. Nelson called his Pinedale crew and just before 3 p.m. Wednesday, three bucket trucks rolled in with foreman Matt Hansen, apprentice Rowdy Chadwick and lineman Phillip Mergl.
“He didn’t waste any time getting back to me,” Tan said of Nelson. “Everything worked just right. Not only did Rocky Mountain Power and Chris offer to help, he and his team went above and beyond to be helpful and kind as soon as they could.”
He explained RMP will rescue pets, large birds and even bobcats off power poles, if it can be done safely for all involved, avoiding a power outage and pet electrocution. Foreman Matt Hansen choreographed the rescue, turning off the line’s energy as Chadwick hopped into his bucket and rose slowly to Sammy’s level, grabbed the furry behemoth tightly and descended to the ground where a grateful Tan took over.
Sammy will not be wandering off for awhile, and he finally enjoyed his albacore tuna – inside.
“He’s still sleeping,” Tan said later. “He does not want to go outside. I’m glad. I wouldn’t want him to go outside now anyway.”
Nelson says anyone who sees an animal or large bird on a Rocky Mountain Power pole can call 888-221-7070.