World-renowned climber helps avert Cat-astrophe

SPOKANE - Animals are rescued in our community everyday, but on Wednesday a tiny kitten found perched high on a ledge on a bridge abutment was brought to safety by someone with a little bit more climbing experience than your average emergency responder.

You could hear him meowing long before you could see him high above a trail in West Central Spokane. Kay, a Spokane resident, just happened to be running by and noticed the kitten high on a ledge.

?We were running from the Spokane Club and we could hear this poor little kitten crying,? Kay said.

She looked up - several stories up in fact - and there the tiny kitten sat stranded and practically begging for help.

?I?m sure it was terrified and obviously had no way to get down," Kay said.

Most cats would have to figure out a way to get themselves down off this ledge but this seemingly unlucky cat was pretty lucky after all. He was lucky it was Kay who found him.

?We went home, got my climbing equipment and decided to rescue the little kitten," Kay said.

You see this isn?t Kay?s first climb.

And we should also mention that Kay is actually world-renowned mountain climber Kay Leclaire who at 60 became the oldest woman to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents. Last May Kay also became the second oldest American woman to summit a peak in the Himalayas called Everest.

So rescuing a cat on an old railroad abutment should be a piece of cake for Kay.

?He was ready to be rescued, that's for sure,? she said.

With harness and ropes in place, Kay rappelled over the side of the abutment to the very anxious cat below. As animal control officers looked on she grabbed the little guy then handed him to waiting hands above.

Despite her years of experience on a variety of climbs, this turned out to be more challenging than she expected.

?I didn't put enough coils around the part that goes to my feet, so the rope was slipping,? she said.

Still the ending was a happy one with a tiny kitten safely off a huge old bridge abutment and a rescuer who added one more achievement to an already ? mountainous ? list of accomplishments.

As for the kitten, his luck is still changing for the better. He's been given a clean bill of health, nicknamed Sky and was adopted several hours after his rescue.