Tough guys to the rescue of newborn kitten litter
FIREFIGHTERS may be more accustomed to pulling injured motorists from car wrecks or dousing a blazing inferno.
But their skills were called for in a more delicate rescue operation when a litter of four kittens became stranded in a Flinders View home.
A pet owner approached the Ripley station firefighters with a last-minute attempt to remove a newly born litter from a tight spot before the householder moved out yesterday.
Ripley Fire Station acting station officer Jed Crosby said a pregnant cat had crawled into a 10cm hole between the floors of a two-bedroom home.
The cat had given birth to four tiny kittens - which were just out of arm's reach.
Mr Crosby said the cat's owner arrived at the station at 4pm on Tuesday.
The week-old kittens were too weak and fragile to negotiate the rafters in the ceiling.
The firefighters' regular rescue equipment proved to be too heavy and may have injured the precious kittens as they attempted the rescue.
Instead, the crew used a lighter tool with a plastic claw which exuded just enough pressure to lift the kittens.
During a 20-minute exercise, the firefighters shone a torch through the hole and picked up the kittens one by one.
"It was just enough for us to shine a torch through to see their tiny heads," he said.
Mr Crosby said, while he had rescued a horse from a house and a cow from a river, it was his first cat-related rescue.
"It was something a little out of left field. It's not something we get trained in doing," he said.