Cat on roof sets off troublesome rescue at James Island medical center

  • Posted: Thursday, December 26, 2013 5:45 p.m., Updated: Thursday, December 26, 2013 8:22 p.m.
After being stuck on the roof of a James Island medical building for a week, Baby the cat rests in a cage after being pulled from a drain pipe Thursday. A Pet Helpers staff member took him for food and water and a checkup by a veterinarian. Buy this photo

A cat that got stuck on the roof of a James Island medical building ended up causing all kinds of trouble for those trying to rescue him Thursday.

People at Nason Medical Center on Folly Road kept seeing a yellow cat on the roof for about a week, sometimes looking over the edge, sometimes peering in the upper windows. Somebody finally reported it to Pet Helpers Thursday morning.

Director Carol Linville found out the cat might be one of theirs. Pet Helpers regularly traps feral cats, sterilizes them and releases them for volunteers to feed. A woman who feed cats near the Nason parking lot said a yellow cat called Baby had been missing for about a week.

Linville called animal rescuer Raymond Covington of Nuisance Wildlife Removal Service. Covington climbed a ladder and saw the cat. Linville snapped a photo of him looking over the edge. It was Baby, cold, hungry and dehydrated.

Apparently the cat had run up a tree by the building and jumped over to the roof. The roof is about 4 feet below the edge of the building, so the cat couldn't get back up.

While Covington was making plans to put down a trap, a cop showed up. The officer said the medical center's management couldn't let people climb up the side of the building because of liability issues.

Linville spent the rest of the afternoon making phone calls. Eventually she worked her way up the chain at Nason, found a sympathetic ear, and got permission to rescue the cat if she signed a liability waiver.

Covington and DeDe Tyler of Pet Helpers returned to the building about 4:30 p.m. Nason staff members gathered around to watch. Covington called down that he saw the cat. Then the cat ran down a drain pipe. Covington came down to get a long pole. The cat slid farther down the pipe.

By this time, people were starting to get worried that the cat would end up stuck in the pipe. As it turned out, the cat slid down near the ground. Covington cut off the bent end of the pipe and reached in with a pole and loop. At 5:50 p.m., he pulled out the cat, kicking and fussing, like delivering a baby.

Pet Helpers will pay to fix the pipe, Tyler said. She took the cat in a cage for some long overdue food and water and a checkup by a veterinarian. When he's strong enough, he will be released again near his feeding spot.

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