Kitten Rescued From Rooftop of Derelict House in Cumbria in Four-Hour Operation

Kenai had been stuck on the roof for three days in the wind and rain

An eight-month-old kitten’s curiosity landed him in trouble after he spent three days stranded on the roof of a derelict house in Barrow-in-Furness.

Kenai was spotted wandering along the rooftops and meowing for help after he climbed into the empty terraced property in Penrith Place on 8 January via a broken board on a downstairs window.

He then made his way into the attic through an open hatch, before climbing onto the roof through a hole where slates had broken or fallen off. The weather in the area was wet and windy at the time, which had made the roof slippery, and Kenai could be seen losing his grip as he moved perilously around.

Last Wednesday (11 January) Kenai’s owner, Danielle Gilchrist, who lives nearby, contacted the RSPCA after it became clear that her efforts to coax him down with food and tasty treats were not working.

RSPCA inspector Martyn Fletcher arrived on the scene just after midday, and although it was clear that the frightened feline was keen to come down from roof, the officer was unable to reach him.

Martyn then contacted Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service to see if they were able to assist, and firefighters from Red Watch at Barrow Fire Station arrived. The dilapidated condition of the property caused some concern, and so an initial attempt to rescue Kenai using a ladder at the front of the address was tried. The kitten came very close to the helping hand of one firefighter, but at the last second became nervous and ran back into the roof space for safety.

The fire service’s aerial platform was then used. Once the vehicle was in place, the firefighters were able to hover above the roof and access the space in which Kenai was hiding, before putting him into an RSPCA cat basket and safely returning him to the ground.

Following a quick check up by Martyn, Kenai – who is named after a character in the Disney children’s film Brother Bear – was returned to Danielle and her two young children, aged two and ten-months-old, who were relieved to see him safe and well after his three-day ordeal.

Martyn said: “Curious little Kenai found himself well and truly stranded and no amount of coaxing with tasty treats was going to get him to come back down again. The weather had been pretty awful, but fortunately he could climb back into the roof space through the hole where the slates were missing, which provided him with some shelter from the elements.

“Huge thanks go to the officers from Red Watch at Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service for their time and assistance. Because of the state of the property, this was a tricky rescue, but it demonstrates the excellent relationship we have with the emergency services and what can be achieved when organisations work together for the benefit of animal welfare.”

Often if a cat is stuck up a tree, or on a roof, they are usually able to get themselves back down again. Unless there are severe weather conditions, or the cat appears injured or hurt, the RSPCA advises that people monitor the situation for 24 hours and try coaxing them down with smelly treats or fish.

Following Kenai’s rescue, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service contacted the local authority to ensure the property was secured properly to prevent any animals from getting inside in the future.

The RSPCA has launched a fund-raising campaign to continue to rescue animals like Kenai. Join the Winter Rescue and help our rescuers be there for the animals in need, please visit our web page here.

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