The Midwest has been hit with record-breaking freezing temperatures this month. Nights regularly dip into negative temps and in many places, daytime highs don’t register more than single digits. Humans are in danger of losing their lives in the snow, ice and frigid landscapes. What’s just as horrible, are the animals outside suffering that fate each day. Some are strays and ferals, others are housecats that have gotten outdoors, with no idea what horrors wait for them.
Mr. Vanjie, a handsome grey feline, managed to find himself in quite a precarious position last week in Northeast Indiana.
With temperatures ranging from 40 degrees down to 5 degrees, the first couple of weeks in January 2019 have been rough for any living thing. Mr. Vanjie is one of the many cats who have had to survive in these conditions.
A year ago, he happened to wander up to the doorstep of the Greving-Stutvoet home. The family welcomed the new addition when he chose them as his humans. Although they happily allowed him access to the indoor life, there is still a part of him that remains tied to the outdoor lifestyle. Since then, he has accepted a role of family cat, but only if this meant he could come and go as he pleased.
Then, the 2nd week in January, he never returned after an outing. The family spent 2 weeks looking for their semi-indoor kitty, but feared the worst.
On January 16th, the Huntington County Sheriff’s Department received a call unlike any they’d received before.
A grey cat was stuck halfway down the concrete wall of a nearby spillway, situated at a popular local fishing and picnic spot. When a fisherman at the J.E. Roush Lake Arrowhead North Picnic Area noticed it, he immediately called the authorities. No one could be sure just how the cat had gotten himself into that predicament! It’s possible he was thrown from a vehicle or trying to hide from passing by cars–in the worst spot possible.
Retelling the situation on their Facebook page, the officers knew they were going to have to get creative to save him.
“The cat was clearly in distress and retreated to the very top of the spillway area and lodged itself in the metal structure. There was not anyway to gain access to the animal, short of taking a boat out and hoping we could coax it down. It was decided it was worth a shot to attempt the help the cat versus doing nothing.”
Not far from the location is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Conservation department. Two of their members, Ryan Martin and Jared Perrott, were there to lend helping hands in the odd situation. They decided the best way to attempt to rescue the troubled cat would be by boat.
It took about an hour for them to get permission to shut off the water at the Roush Dam and launch the boat. No one knew what to expect or how the cat would react to them.
But when they pulled into position, the cat surprised them by being a very willing participant.
He emerged from his frigid hiding spot and simply slid down the entire concrete wall, right into his awaiting rescuers arms! Timed just perfectly, he was pulled to safety just above the ice capped water.
When Heidi Greving-Stutvoet saw the amazing rescue, she was shocked to see it was Mr. Vanjie making (an almost) splash on the news! They rushed to pick up their cat, overjoyed to see him again.
Hopefully after the slippery ordeal, Mr. Vanjie is happy to stay warm indoors with their other family fur-babies. From Heidi’s recently shared photo, he looks very comfy on the couch again!
As one commenter on the social media post put it, “It’s videos like that that make you want to hold your kitties closer.“
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP, MICROCHIP YOUR PETS & SPAY AND NEUTER!
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