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Cat scratch fever

Firefighters dive in to help stranded kittens


by: SHAWNA DRON-GENTERT - Aurora Fire District lieutenants Tim Gloy, left, and Dave Fincher check on the two feral kittens that Aurora firefighters rescued from the bottom of a deep hole.Firefighters have been famed for years for fetching hapless kittens down from trees.

When it came their turn on the morning of Nov. 12, members of the Aurora Fire District had to use a different approach. They took a dive.

Their kittens needing rescue were down a hole.

Two feral kittens managed to get trapped at the bottom of a 5-foot-deep posthole on a construction site off Ottaway Road Northeast.

Someone called Debbie Libel first, knowing she had been keeping an eye on the cats. She showed up with two pet carrier crates, but the little wild ones were beyond grasp and she had no equipment to reach them. Time to call the fire department.

Chief Rod Yoder, Assistant Chief Greg Dyke and Lts. Dave Fincher and Tim Gloy responded. They sized up the situation but did not jump in feet first. It was more headfirst.

Fincher extended his head, arms and shoulders down into the hole, his fellow firefighters hanging on to his ankles. But the kittens, still out of reach, did not cooperate. As feral cats, this was probably their first encounter with humans.

Fincher still couldn’t reach them. Then he poked at them with a piece of 2x4-inch lumber.

When the kittens jumped up the side of the hole to get away from it, he was able to grab them.

The kittens then were passed up to waiting cat crates.

All that effort and what did they get? Bit.

At least one bite. To Fincher’s wrist.

Even though he wore leather gloves, one of the kittens still managed to nail him.

Libel said the kittens, looking worse for wear what with the mud and water in the hole, were about 13 to 14 weeks old.

Libel plans to find the kittens homes. Civilizing feral cats is not a task for the faint-hearted.

“It takes a long time,” she said. “I will try to find them a home where someone can work with them.




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