RNLI crew rescues ungrateful cat

Chiswick Lifeboat went out on Sunday afternoon, to save a cat which was stranded on the foreshore. The boat launched at 2.22 pm on Sunday 7 June after the crew had seen a black cat in distress on a rapidly diminishing piece of shingle at the foot of the six metre high river wall. Quite a crowd had gathered to watch and they were concerned that one of the many onlookers would attempt to rescue it.

The crew have rescued many dogs, who are usually glad to see their human rescuers, but cats display very different behaviour. This cat greeted the crew by snarling and spitting, and then tried to climb the sheer wall. He then wriggled out of the clutches of RNLI crewman Mark Pusey and started swimming away. Mark waded after him and, after some gentle encouragement, managed to wrap the cat in a blanket and took him into the lifeboat. The cat was brought ashore shore and released unharmed.

“In true Tom & Jerry-style, the cat then shot off ‘stage left’ pursued by a dog” said one of the crew.

RNLI Helmsman James Anthony explained “The RNLI crews often rescue animals in order to prevent their owners from putting themselves in harm’s way. On this occasion we were just in time. The little strip of foreshore was completely covered by the rapidly rising tide by the time the cat was brought ashore.”

Mark Pusey added “This incident had a good outcome but does show how easily the fast flowing tides can turn a benign environment into a very dangerous one. If you see a person, or an animal, in trouble in the water please call 999 immediately and ask for the coastguard. The RNLI lifeboats on the Thames can be at any incident in minutes.’

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