At 14.22 on Sunday 7 June 2020 Chiswick Lifeboat launched to a cat stranded on the foreshore. The crew had seen a black cat in distress on a rapidly diminishing piece of shingle at the foot of the 6m high river wall. They were concerned that one of the many onlookers would attempt to rescue the cat.
At 2.22pm on Sunday 7 June 2020 Chiswick Lifeboat launched to a cat stranded on the foreshore. The crew had spotted a black cat in distress on a rapidly diminishing patch of shingle at the foot of a 6m high river wall. They were concerned that one of the crowd of onlookers was going to put themselves in danger in an attempt to rescue the cat.
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.
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.’
Chiswick RNLI lifeboat station is the second busiest in the UK and Ireland. Since The RNLI search and rescue service on the Thames started in 2002, Chiswick Lifeboat has attended over 3,500 incidents and rescued over 1,750 people. The RNLI is entirely funded by public donations.
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