'They're heroes': How firies rescued a diabetic cat
MAROOCHYDORE police officer senior constable Graham Atkinson has praised his fellow emergency service workers at the Coolum Fire Station after they rescued his cat Pharaoh from a stormwater drain on Monday.
"My work colleagues often joke about how attached I am to my 13-year-old cat Pharaoh, but he is my absolute best friend and constant companion," he said.
"Being a senior citizen and diabetic and insulin dependent, Pharaoh requires insulin injections twice a day, so when he was uncharacteristically gone all day and didn't come home at night I feared the worst.
"Despite hours and hours of searching the neighbourhood late at night and then again in the morning and a letter drop to all the neighbours we couldn't find him anywhere.
"By pure chance at about 9.45am on Monday morning while walking around the neighbourhood again searching for Pharaoh, I just happened to hear a very faint meow coming from down the stormwater drain outside my house.
"On lifting the cement drain covers in the street, I could see Pharaoh stuck in the drain about 30 metres from the man hole down the cement stormwater pipe."
Snr cnst Atkinson said he intially tried to coax Pharaoh out with food but had no luck and thought maybe the cat's arthritis was preventing him from jumping back out. So he called 000 to see if they could help.
Coolum Fire Station officer-in-charge lieutenant Hardy Neale said contrary to popular belief they didn't usually spend their days rescuing cats from trees or stormwater drains.
"It was only because Pharaoh was so old that we believed he couldn't get out of the stormwater drain," he said.
"Usually if an animal gets in or up somewhere it should be right to get down or out.
"Emergency services were called in this instance though to assist in retrieval.
"Initially we tried a portable piece of swift water rescue equipment to encourage the cat to move but then with Graham's permission we resorted to pouring some water down the drain and that got Pharaoh out."
Snr cnst Atkinson said he couldn't have been happier when he was reunited with his beloved cat.
"My thanks aren't enough," he said.
Lt Neale said while the story had a happy ending and he did enjoy dealing with animals, he would discourage residents from calling them to rescue their animals unless it was critical.