Update: Seattle City Light rescues cat from Genesee power pole

SUNDAY, 7:27 PM: That’s a cat in a tough spot in the rain – and since nobody seems to know whose it is, and it’s been up there for many hours, we went to check it out so we could crosspost on the Lost/Found Pets page. (We used a flashlight for a spotlight to get a photo – that’s the clearest one we have.) It’s sitting atop the stub of an old utility pole that’s fastened to the top of a newer one on the southwest corner of 46th and Andover, and the neighbors who e-mailed us earlier say nobody knows whose it is. If you are missing a relatively small black cat in that general area, you might go have a look. Food and water is waiting below if the kitty manages to get itself down. Otherwise, we have already forwarded the concerned neighbors the advice we’ve received repeatedly: Call a tree service. (The neighbors certainly would welcome any other suggestions.)

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: As of 8:30, when we went by, still there:

See the comments for more extensive discussion of who’s done what and who’s suggested what. As mentioned there, we (and others) are checking with Seattle City Light – whom at least one neighbor says was called on Sunday.

9:54 AM UPDATE: The cat’s down, thanks to City Light.

73 Replies to "Update: Seattle City Light rescues cat from Genesee power pole"

  • Alyxx B February 3, 2013 (7:33 pm)

    Is it reachable with a decent ladder?

    • WSB February 3, 2013 (7:36 pm)

      Fire Dept. apparently can’t do this kind of thing – this comes up now and then and the general recommendation is “tree service.” The neighbors say they’ve already called everyone from Humane Society to City Light. (We also sent them this past thread from the WSB Forums. https://westseattleblog.com/forum/topic/who-to-call-to-get-cat-out-of-tree ) Re: a decent ladder – depends on what you call a decent ladder. It’s a typical utility/streetlight pole – two stories at least? And on a sloped street (toward the bottom), and in the rain.

  • peeb February 3, 2013 (7:33 pm)

    Fire department?

  • Lisa February 3, 2013 (7:43 pm)

    How about using a ladder and a large net to capture the cat.

  • Mike February 3, 2013 (7:52 pm)

    Utilities I assume since that’s a lot of power/cable/phone lines

  • Sue February 3, 2013 (7:54 pm)

    This site about cat rescue actually says it’s illegal for anyone unauthorized by the utility company to climb a utility pole.


  • Thistle February 3, 2013 (7:55 pm)

    I can second the tree service! Or a 24 hour handyman type service. My indoor cat escaped from the pet sitter and got herself completely stuck and scared silly on the roof of our four story apartment. The manager had this happen before with other pets and called a 24 tree service (sorry different city or I would provide info). Now granted, it was not SuperBowl Sunday, but the guy who came out only ended up charging enough to cover his gas… probably helped that my pet sitter was a teenager who was visibly distraught …. maybe someone would be willing to give a discount knowing that it is a “lost” unknown pet.

    Also, has anyone tried using a bell or something other then a human voice to try and entice the kitty down? Strange voices might scare her more but something that sounds like a toy, maybe not? Worked for a neighbor a few weeks back.

  • Katie W February 3, 2013 (7:57 pm)

    Best bet is to call Seattle City Light at 684-3000.

  • mike February 3, 2013 (7:58 pm)

    Are you sure it is not a homeland security camera?

  • AJP February 3, 2013 (7:59 pm)

    Anyone ever see a cat die up a pole or a tree?

  • Faith4 February 3, 2013 (7:59 pm)

    Safe from coyotes up here. I hope the owner sees this so they can get their cat.

  • Darrel Humphrey February 3, 2013 (8:00 pm)

    Somebody please get that kitty down if I had a ladder or if anyone has. I will go up and get him down

    • WSB February 3, 2013 (8:09 pm)

      This wasn’t meant so much as a “please somebody anybody rescue the cat” as it’s meant to cast a wider net to see whose cat it is – if its person goes and calls for it, maybe Kitty will consider jumping. Re: the coyote mention, I wouldn’t be surprised if a coyote pursuit is how the cat got UP there in the first place. Usually a pet would have to cross a wire to get to the top of a pole but the stub here has created an unusual sort of perch – TR
      P.S. Thanks to those making resource suggestions. Having just taken a look, I don’t think it’s safe for just anyone, however well-intended, to head out there with a ladder and try to get Kitty down right now.

  • Lena February 3, 2013 (8:05 pm)

    Good website for this http://www.catinatreerescue.com/view/dankraus.cfm
    He is Seattle based and also has a directory of people who can get cats down.

  • Marianne February 3, 2013 (8:29 pm)

    I have email several cat in a tree rescue services as well as Seattle City Light. Poor cat. If City Light is able to get it down, I can get it to Animal Control so that it is not released to be eaten by a coyote.

  • Observer February 3, 2013 (8:35 pm)

    Pressure washer? One more reason cats should be left indoors or strictly monitored outdoors. Just read that an estimated 15 billion birds are killed each year in the US by domestic cats.

  • homedk February 3, 2013 (8:37 pm)

    AJP: Yes, unfortunately I have seen that happen. When cats get very scared they will not always respond to the sounds of their owners or other familiar sounds such as cat toys or the can opener sound. Saddest part was that the cat’s owners searched all over, including below the tree where the cat had been hiding. Their cat didn’t respond, and died in the tree…which was very close to their house.

  • F February 3, 2013 (8:38 pm)

    FWIW, I linked to this post in a comment at SCL’s Facebook page:


    Also FWIW, in 2008, SCL workers actually did get a cat down from a pole:


    According to a page on cats stuck in trees by MEOW Cat Rescue in Kirkland, it is in fact important to get the cat down:

    “There may be a common belief that if the cat can get up the tree, it can get down. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily true. When a cat becomes stuck in a tree, it is important to get them down as soon as possible. In as little time as a day or two, the cat can become dehydrated and weak.”


  • Anna Eileen February 3, 2013 (8:42 pm)

    I called cat in the tree but they can’t help because it’s not a tree but a utility pool and he suggested s.dot so I will call them and Seattle City light in the morning. I do not live anywhere near this cat but I can’t take one person having a unhappy face facebook saying someone needs to save the cat.

  • F February 3, 2013 (8:46 pm)

    I am dismayed that anyone would post about the discredited Smithsonian “study” about cats. Please read blogger Vox Felina’s takedown of this atrocious set of claims, part of a well-funded witch hunt against feral cats that stretches back more than 15 years.
    Alley Cat Allies responded to the Smithsonian press release, and the hysterical articles that followed, this way:
    It’s worth noting — in addition to the personal relationships between the researchers highlighted by Vox Felina blogger Peter Wolf — that two of the science “reporters” who published the Smithsonian press release are Smithsonian insiders, as noted by a reader at VF’s Facebook page:
    Slate article “Cats are Evil” – published days before the study, written by Slate health and science editor Laura Helmuth (Ph. D. in Cognitive Neuroscience from Berkeley), who was senior editor of Smithsonian Magazine for 8 years until about a year ago. Salon report on the study, title “Death to the house cat!” written by Hannah Waters who also wrote the report for Scientific American on the study – title “Cats Are Ruthless Killers, Should They Be Killed”, is employed by the Smithsonian. She self-describes as “When not collecting soul albums or gushing about sweaters, Hannah Waters writes about ecology, natural history, the history of science, and whatever else pops into her little head. She lives and works in Washington, DC, but, really, on the internet.”

  • Marianne February 3, 2013 (8:49 pm)

    Observer, People are trying to help this cat. Your comment was unnecessary and plain old mean!

  • Michelle February 3, 2013 (8:50 pm)

    I will pitch in up to $20 to help this poor baby down. If you end up coordinating a rescue, just say so in the comments, and list a way to contact you. I’m good for it!

  • luckymom30 February 3, 2013 (8:52 pm)

    Furry Faces or Hammerhead can you help or suggest some to help get this cat down?

  • homedk February 3, 2013 (9:13 pm)

    Just an observation that the Comcast/Xfinity workers and telephone company employees may also have the non-conducting ladders & experience to climb that pole.

  • me February 3, 2013 (9:15 pm)

    The cat is sitting about 22 feet up. It will take a 32 foot extension ladder to reach. If there was a Comcast or Century Link tech in the area with a pole ladder they could get him/her down in a jiff.
    Pressure washer?!? Really?!?

  • Dog February 3, 2013 (9:22 pm)

    Ditto Observer!

  • Darrel Humphrey February 3, 2013 (9:23 pm)

    Who cares if a cat kills a bird,it is nature,leave it alone. Everyone is just making helpful suggestions about how to get a cat down,not hurt it. And I also will chip in $20 to help get him down .

  • Betsy February 3, 2013 (9:28 pm)

    My husband, a veteran City Light-er, has this to say: “Leave the cat alone!!! Put a bowl of water at the bottom of the pole.”

    Attempting to resucue this cat would be far too dangerous to attempt. For the human(s) and the cat.

    He goes on to say that many cats have been killed during attempted rescues from poles. The most common is to have the cat get scared and back into the wires. Another (very true) story he tells is of a cat scared off a pole by a human only to run into the street and be run over by a cement truck.

    In this particular case, those wires behind him appear to be insulated and/or are phone and cable. An attempted rescue may chase him further up the pole to the really dangerous wires.

    Hanging out below the cat on the ground will only convince it to stay up longer.

    Put a bowl of water at the base of the pole and WALK AWAY. The cat will get thirsty long before it gets hungry and can see the reflective water below.

    • WSB February 3, 2013 (9:42 pm)

      Thanks, Betsy. Neighbors placed a bowl of water and bowl of food beneath the pole – we saw them while checking it out earlier. I don’t know what the scene is there, but when Patrick and I stopped by for a few minutes a couple hours ago, nobody was out hovering – so I think all your recommendations had been followed, at least to that point – TR

  • matt c February 3, 2013 (9:37 pm)

    is thereany good news aboutthis? its upsetting me!

  • Kravitz February 3, 2013 (9:59 pm)

    It’s nice to see that there is a good, general concern for the well-being of an animal and the humans that want to try and help. But there a few post on here (you know who are) who are just being jackasses and trying to rile up the folks that are concerned. What is your purpose, people? Does it make you feel good to make others feel bad? You’d feel differently if it was your pet, or a child’s pet.

  • Elle February 3, 2013 (10:00 pm)

    I have been missing a black cat since December, it is hard to tell from the picture if that one is mine or not.
    I hope this one comes down.

  • nomeato February 3, 2013 (10:31 pm)

    Actually, I think Observer’s pressure washer idea is the best one yet. No one has to climb anything, and it’s almost guaranteed to get the cat to move. It’s a much better idea than the one I was thinking of: shoot at the cat with a rifle (just a few inches away, that is, to scare it off).

  • Vicki Hamilton February 3, 2013 (11:18 pm)

    I am afraid for this kitty. I recognize her. Don’t know her real name, but we call her Snookie. She’s been visiting us (corner of 44th & Genesee) each summer for some years now since she was just a kitten. She’s skittish, but will come up on the back porch for water and a brief pet. I hope all goes well for her. Please, don’t use a pressure washer or shoot at her. How awful!

  • orcmid February 3, 2013 (11:28 pm)

    Vicki is pretty sure this is the neighborhood cat she’s named Snookie, an wanderer that is often near our back porch or passing through our yard. We give her water but no food. We haven’t noticed her being around for the past few months though. I have pictures here:
    Close-up, Being wary, Blissed out,
    First encounter

  • Sara February 3, 2013 (11:30 pm)

    Please please update with what happens. I have a little black cat and this is sad!! Poor kitty!

  • Nick February 4, 2013 (1:13 am)

    Are you freaking insane? Shoot a rifle or a pressure washer to get the cat down? There’s a good chance it might not live if it fell from that height. If it’s still up there then this is ridiculous. Someone get a cherry picker and grab it, it’ll be over in 2 minutes. Hurry up before it dies, good Lord. I’d hate to see a story about a cat that died up a pole because nobody could figure out how to get it down.

  • toodles February 4, 2013 (1:53 am)

    No coyotes can get to it that’s for sure.

  • 2 Much Whine February 4, 2013 (4:17 am)

    I’ve never seen a cat skeleton on a utility or telephone pole. . . . . the cat will come down when it’s hungry enough. Or if it jumps and breaks a leg then we can all pitch in on the vet bill. I sound like a jerk but cats have been climbing trees and getting out of them for a very long time. With that being said, Observer made a comment about 15 billion birds being killed annually by domestic cats. What the poster conveniently forgot(?) was that the huge number of kills was for birds AND mammals including mice, rats, shrews and voles. Interesting omission.

  • ca February 4, 2013 (6:56 am)

    any update on kitty?

    • WSB February 4, 2013 (8:02 am)

      CA, I haven’t heard anything from neighbors yet this morning, so we’ll be going over within the hour (barring breaking news) to see if it’s still there.

  • brenda February 4, 2013 (8:25 am)

    Poor little Guy is still there??????

  • WSB February 4, 2013 (8:33 am)

    Update: Still there as of 8:30 am.

  • brenda February 4, 2013 (8:47 am)

    OK, I called Seattle City Light and placed an “order”. I was told they will go to the scene and they will call my cell phone if they need more info.

    • WSB February 4, 2013 (8:50 am)

      I’ve contacted their media folks as well to see what they can tell us about this and about general poilcy in such cases.

  • Anna Eileen February 4, 2013 (9:01 am)

    I just called Seattle City Light and they said they will not help as they do not want to be liable. If you got someone to come out Brenda, great!!

  • The Farm February 4, 2013 (9:13 am)

    My experience says leave the kitty. He/she will come down when hungry enough. Won’t die up there! Needs to learn how to come down on its own…otherwise it will just do it again.

  • Rebecca February 4, 2013 (9:24 am)

    Thank you for putting the food and water down there. She actually is capable of climbing down, so hopefully she chooses to do that before one of our friendly local psychopaths decides to shoot her. (Seriously, folks, if you can’t function in society, check yourself into a hospital).

  • Greg February 4, 2013 (9:36 am)

    Looks like Seattle City Light has a crew out to get the cat down now.

  • brenda February 4, 2013 (9:52 am)

    @Anna Eileen, they told you that? Ha. OK I’m calling them back and if I find out they lied to me, I’m calling the media. Why not just be upfront with me, especially after putting me on hold while she finds out protocal. Somewhere inside of me I do feel the little Guy can get down himself, but its just so tough to see him up there. The crows taunting him and all……I might have a connection at Ken’s Yard Service. Ill call them….

    • WSB February 4, 2013 (9:53 am)

      Brenda, we ARE the media. The cat is down now, thanks to City Light. We’ll have video shortly (provided our chip behaves). – Tracy

  • Vicki Hamilton February 4, 2013 (9:53 am)

    Is someone taking photos?

  • Anna Eileen February 4, 2013 (9:57 am)

    Brenda, I agree I thought the cat just might get down on it’s own but why not try and help? I have had cats most of my life and sometimes they get petrified and don’t move – ever! I won’t go out there because I would be so sad to see the cat in person and with crows, yikes. So glad they showed up and I don’t know who I talked to but evidently I wasn’t persuasive enough! Glad you got them to come!

  • Vicki Hamilton February 4, 2013 (10:01 am)

    Thank you to everyone who contributed to the rescue of this kitty. Thank you.

  • homedk February 4, 2013 (10:06 am)

    So glad to hear that the cat was rescued! The comments that the cat would have come down on its own and wouldn’t die up there contradict my own experience as I noted earlier. Sometimes pets (and people) need help to get out of scary situations.

  • brenda February 4, 2013 (10:07 am)

    Yahoo!! Thank you Beth @ Seattle City Light!! Ha…good point WSB….I stand corrected u r the media. I was thinking TV in my head. Ya, driving over and seeing him after Xfit this am was heartbreaking indeed.

    • WSB February 4, 2013 (10:11 am)

      TV monitors us VERY closely (we know this from our visitor logs, not just from the stories they pick up that they wouldn’t have known about otherwise) so they knew already – they have to cover 22 counties so they don’t always drop everything and run. City Light does insist, however, that the cat would have come down … they apparently usually do … on my part, I am relieved because I didn’t want to see anybody get hurt trying to rescue it unofficially.

  • Chuck and Sally's Van Man February 4, 2013 (10:07 am)

    @2 Much Whine: While that 15 BILLION kill mark likely included rodents, what YOU failed to mention is that the scientists who collected the data were shocked to discover just how high the percentage of kills are from domestic and feral cats. In other words, our furry little friends are laying waste to wildlife (particularly ground-nesting birds) at an alarming rate. But I know you’re not part of the problem, as surely your cats are indoors 24/7, right?

  • Crystal February 4, 2013 (10:09 am)

    Yay! So happy to hear this! <3

  • Kravitz February 4, 2013 (12:14 pm)

    Thank you Brenda and Seattle City Light – this is a happy ending. I was so worried about the cat. Does anyone know if the cat was just released or was it taken to be checked for a microchip or otherwise?

    • WSB February 4, 2013 (12:31 pm)

      Kravitz and somebody else who asked about where/if it was “taken” – What you see in the video is exactly what happened. Shortly after Aaron gently picked it up and started the slow process of going back down – the kitty jumped in a BIG way – more like flew! – and then our shot shows it bolting down the street. (I’m glad co-publisher Patrick Sand, who does a lot of our photography, did NOT take my advice to take the tripod to videotape the rescue, he wouldn’t have been able to spin it to get that part of the “escape”!) – TR

  • orcmid February 4, 2013 (1:21 pm)

    About cats getting down from high places. Cats can’t descend backwards the way we do. A cat gets down from a high place by *running* vertically down the vertical surface and then pushing off in order to land upright. It is amazing to watch — it is a kind of controlled dive bombing.

    I have seen that done from heights under 10 feed — our two Bombays did that when they were younger. I can imagine that the technique does not work for greater heights, since gravity wins and the cat simply falls at some point.

    • WSB February 4, 2013 (1:24 pm)

      I’m sure City Light’s superintendent Jorge Carrasco would be interested in kind words, too – following city e-mail convention, his address should be jorge.carrasco@seattle.gov

  • toodles February 4, 2013 (2:19 pm)

    Kitty is a rock star..

  • anonyme February 4, 2013 (3:00 pm)

    There are newer, far more comprehensive studies showing that free-roaming domestic cats kill anywhere from 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds per year, and up to 10 million small mammals (that would otherwise be food to other birds, such as raptors). It’s not a matter of choosing one species over another, and to frame the problem in that way is ridiculous. We need a different approach to feral colonies, and all pet cats should be indoor only. Better for all species concerned. Of course the original blame goes to the humans who don’t neuter their pets.

  • F February 4, 2013 (3:25 pm)

    To anonyme and Chuck and Sally’s Van Man re: the Smithsonian “study” regarding cats that you are alluding to . . .
    Again, this “study” has been discredited. Please read Vox Felina’s dissection, posted Friday:
    And Alley Cat Allies’ January 30th response to the “study”:
    As Alley Cat Allies notes, “Some of the research they cite is more than a half-century old. They even cite discredited researcher Nico Dauphine, who was convicted by a D.C. jury for trying to poison cats and then fired from her job at the Smithsonian. The researcher convicted of trying to poison cats worked for Marra, one of the authors of this study.”
    This “study” is part of a carefully coordinated campaign against feral cats that stretches back more than 15 years, carried out by a specific set of people with an anti-cat agenda: the American Bird Conservancy, The Wildlife Society, the Smithsonian, the Audubon Society, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and assorted academic fellow travelers.
    Unfortunately, they are being helped by science “reporters” who have personal and professional ties with the authors of the “study.” Please do not help the authors further by implying that their press releases have validity.
    By contrast, a recent Maddie’s Fund white paper is a rich source of fascinating information about how people and cats interact . . . and why the mass slaughter of cats is a losing strategy:

  • anonyme February 4, 2013 (4:06 pm)

    Seriously F, listen to yourself. “Anti-cat agenda”? Using your own ‘logic’, that makes your own spin an “anti-bird agenda”. Absurd. Mass slaughter of any species – including birds – is not what is being called for. This is not an issue of one species against another. That type of hyperbole is exactly what makes your argument invalid, regardless of how many times you cut and paste it. Repetition is not the same thing as accuracy, regardless of the source.

  • elaine February 4, 2013 (4:56 pm)

    Some cats are just not made to be indoor only — and it is cruel to have them exist as indoor only — not all cats, but some. Some cats are purrfectly satisfied to remain fat and happy indoors and bored out of their gourds. Do not dismiss the fact that cats are good at rodent control. Cats are one of natures most magnificent and aesthetically pleasing creatures. If cats should be indoor only, then dogs should too because dogs poop and pee everywhere in the neighborhood — even if you pick it up, it still leaves ‘residue’. But still, how many times have YOU brought dog poo in the house on your shoe? I am sure it has happened to the best of us. Not to mention some dog attacks/bites that increase insurance premiums and such. Oh yes, and think of all the dog food that has to be made to feed the dogs — what kind of environmental footprint does that leave???!! Not to mention all those doggy doo plastic bags… teach your dogs to use the toilet for God’s sake. I love dogs and cats for the record, don’t get me wrong. So… the intolerant line of thinking that is displayed in some of these comments is ridiculous. that cats should just be indoors is ridiculous silly. A short life is much preferred to a caged life. Humans would probably live a lot longer if they were relegated to the indoors only as well… and it would help control over population to have humans sequestered in such a way… because it is so cruel when a human dies in pain in a car accident or homicide, or other illness or accident that might befall them in the “wild”….. keep all humans indoors people. Save them from an untimely and painful death in the wild! Not to mention the rather nasty human decimates wildlife and let off a lot of poisonous gas which kills the ozone.

  • F February 4, 2013 (5:40 pm)

    Unfortunately, anonyme, the continuation of the current trap-and-kill approach used by animal control agencies in the U.S. is the specific public policy goal of the groups who are attacking Trap-Neuter-Return by publicizing “studies” about cats. Trap-and-kill is mass killing, regardless of how many times the anti-cat groups used the term “humane removal.”
    I agree with you that species should not be pitted against one another. If only the anti-cat groups agreed with the two of us.

  • KD February 4, 2013 (8:51 pm)

    Anyone notice if you zero in closer on the still photos of the cat especially the daylight photo, it has missing fur over its left eye and a big spot on its right side. Could be a slightly diluted torti, or ringworm, or the patches could be from the poor cat being unhealthy in general. Does ‘Snooki’ fit the description of the fur? Yes, call FCAT, FAF, or F3 for trapping help, get the cat altered and a basic health check-up. Are ‘Snooki’s’ caretakers still reading this post this far down? Your cat will be returned as long as there is consistent caretakers and safe comfy shelter if said cat is not adoptable and feral. Don’t let it go on too long ‘just feeding.’

  • Brooke February 4, 2013 (10:13 pm)

    Observer: I love your idea of the pressure washer. I hope you’ll volunteer next time.

  • Vicki Hamilton February 5, 2013 (8:34 am)

    Snookie has not been fed on our back porch. Water only and a place to curl up if she wants. This is not her real name – just something we call her, I do not know who she belongs to. I suspect we are but one stop on her neighborhood rounds. I have seen her hunt successfully. I would not consider us to be her caretakers and would really like to know who she belongs to.

  • Vicki Hamilton February 5, 2013 (10:39 am)

    The patches of fur that might be missing may be due to whatever tussle that had her run up the pole in the first place.

Sorry, comment time is over.