Bend kitten, head stuck in hole, gets helping hands

Several rescuers help free cat, now called 'Lennox'

POSTED: 7:01 PM PDT June 7, 2013    UPDATED: 11:05 AM PDT June 9, 2013 
BEND, Ore. -

A small kitten encountered a smaller hole beneath an air conditioner at a Bend RV dealer Friday afternoon, getting her head stuck in it. Fortunately it was able to meow for help loud enough to trigger a rescue that ended up involving, the local shelter, a tranquilizer, a golf club, some rope and … eventual success.

Brian Zinniker, sales manager at All Seasons RV & Marine, and his co-workers came to the rescue when they heard meowing outside their office and tracked it to the small space beneath the HVAC unit.

A call to Deschutes County Animal Control brought word that they don’t do cat rescues. So his next call was to the Humane Society of Central Oregon, where Lynne Ouchida, community outreach manager, quickly responded to the scene, along with co-workers Karen Burns and Juliana Griffith.

“We had no idea what we were walking into,” Ouchida said later. “We thought if it could get its head through the hole, we could get it back out.”

But the 9-week-old, possibly feral cat was very resistant to any efforts to help.

“You’d reach down, to see if you can help, and she would slash at you,” Zinniker said.

So the RV crew was directed over to nearby Banfield Pet Hospital and a tranquilizer shot provided by veterinarian Dr. Holly O’Brien, Ouchida said.

Once subdued, the trick was a bit less tricky, but still required use of a golf club and a piece of rope to lasso said kitty and pull her backwards, slowly, weaving her toward a slightly larger hole she could be squeezed through.

The successful rescue brought cheers from the small assembled group.

Ouchida said they brought the cat to the shelter for care, and Zinniker made a donation in gratitude for the assist.

Burns figures that cat crawled into the tight fit beneath the air conditioner for safety – and when the AC kicked on, she – they later named her “Lennox,” for the brand of air conditioner – “headed for the nearest hole” to get out, fast.

But as it turned out, not so fast.

Feral or not, the shelter folks say they’ll make sure to find Lennox a good, new home – maybe as a “barn cat.”

Wait a minute … barn cat? Don’t wooden barns have small knotholes that….

“Hopefully, she learned her lesson: ‘If my whiskers don’t fit, I don’t fit,’” Burns said.