'Dead' feline eludes rescuers

The cat was dead.

Surely the cat was dead, having been trapped for about five days on the narrow crossbar of a power pole high above a salvage yard in an industrial section of North Las Vegas.

The cat, a furry motionless lump, was dead, and the five grown men sent Tuesday afternoon to rescue it -- including North Las Vegas City Councilman Richard Cherchio -- were glum.

"It's dead!" yelled one of the men, a rugged worker with NV Energy, who was being lifted toward the cat in a bucket truck.

"Well, it's been up there five days!" yelled one of the workers on the ground.

The cat's eyes, seen through a camera's zoom lens, were closed and gummy.

Cherchio had learned of the cat's existence earlier Tuesday afternoon, when he received a call from Gina Greisen, a local animal rights activist.

Could he do anything about a full-grown calico that had been stranded atop a power pole since Friday?

Cherchio, admittedly more of a dog guy, called the city's animal control, which didn't have the proper equipment to rescue a cat from a power pole, he said. So the councilman, who coincidentally is campaigning to keep his Ward 4 council seat, put in a call to Tony Sanchez, senior vice president of government and community strategy for NV Energy.

"Do me a favor," Cherchio told him. "Get someone out here to rescue the cat."

Greisen alerted the media.

Four men and two bucket trucks arrived, along with Cherchio.

A few minutes later, the two men in the bucket were getting closer. They were going to pull down a dead cat. It really was too bad the cat was dead.

"It's alive!" yelled one of the men in the bucket.

The cat was indeed alive, and moving, trying to get away from the men. It did not want to be rescued.

The three men on the ground -- including Cherchio -- began calling to it.

"Here kitty!" called one of them.

"Come on, baby!" Cherchio cooed.

The cat, suddenly spry, began clawing its way down the pole. About halfway it fell, hitting some razor wire atop a concrete wall before leaping into the salvage yard.

The cat ran away. At least it wasn't dead.

"I never saw a cat do that," said Billy Blackford, a journeyman lineman with NV Energy who had been aboard the bucket. "That cat had all kinds of lives left in it."

Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at lcurtis@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0285.