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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Cat survives traffic, 70-foot fall from bridge, 600-foot swim

WENATCHEE, Wash. -- A cat leaped from a pickup truck, scampered through bridge traffic, fell 70 feet into the chilly Columbia River and swam 600 feet to shore before being rescued, Wenatchee Valley Humane Society officials said.

The gray, longhair calico cat, which wore no collar or identification, "ate ravenously" at an animal shelter after the ordeal, Humane Society officer Jody White said.

"She's a nice kitty," White said Monday. "I just hope we can find out who she belongs to and get her back home or find her a new home."

Joi Singleton of East Wenatchee told The Wenatchee World she and her husband, Ron, were driving on U.S. 2 and U.S. 97 over the Odabashian Bridge on Sunday morning when they saw something come off a pickup a couple of car lengths ahead of them.

"We swerved out of the way and realized it was a cat," she said. "It got up and ran. People behind us swerved. It jumped the barrier to the other side of the highway and people there were swerving."

The full-sized white pickup kept going, Singleton said, and she and her husband were unable to get a license plate number before they got over the bridge. They exited the highway, then headed back across the bridge and stopped by the eastern end.

After walking onto the bridge and calling for the cat, they spotted it cowering in a small opening in a concrete barrier near the center of the span and called the Humane Society.

No sooner had two officers gotten the cat into a portable kennel than it jumped out "like a jack-in-the-box before we could secure the door" and leaped over the railing, White said.

"It was absolutely amazing, horrible but amazing, to see. It hit the water, went under, surfaced and was swimming like mad for all she was worth," she said.

White, her supervisor Rebecca Long and the Singletons ran to the end of the bridge and down the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail to the shore, where they cheered on the cat.

"Once it spun around in a current and we thought that was it," Singleton said. "Then this guy in a kayak came out of nowhere and started pushing it toward us. The officers got a noose around its neck and pulled it in."

Information from: The Wenatchee World, http://www.wenworld.com


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