An Erie woman was puttering around her front yard Wednesday when she spotted a black-and-white tomcat with his head lodged in a decorative cast-iron pipe, said Kim Sporrer, spokeswoman for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.
The homeowner called Boulder County animal control officers, who called fire-fighters as the community rallied to free the feline.
Despite using vegetable oil and soap to lubricate the cat's head and neck, they were unable to dislodge the tomcat. Fire-fighters feared they might hurt the cat if they used rescue tools to sever the pipe, Sporrer said.
"They couldn't get the cat free, so they brought the whole works -- the cat and the pipe -- to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley," she said.
But on the way there, animal control officers realized the cat wasn't alone in the pipe.
"They realized something was flopping around in the back of the truck, and it was a rabbit," Sporrer said.
"So, apparently the cat was chasing a rabbit and got its head stuck into the pipe," she said.
Nobody knows why the bunny didn't bolt out the other end of the pipe.
"How that rabbit stayed in the pipe after it was picked up and carried and put in the truck, I just don’t know … Unless the cat had a grip on it," Sporrer said.
But once the back of the truck was opened at the shelter, the wild rabbit was gone.
"The bunny flew out of the back of the pickup. He found his freedom and took off," Sporrer said.
The cat, however, was still stuck.
"We had to give him anaesthesia to make him calm enough to remove him from the pipe," Sporrer said.
After some gentle twists and turns of the kitty's head, the stunned and sedated car was free.
"He has some pretty bad scrapes on his head and face," Sporrer said.
"So far it's a happy ending. We're hoping the kitty continues to improve in our care," she said.
The cat didn't have a collar or tags, so shelter officials aren't sure if he belongs to someone or is a feral cat, Sporrer said.
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