Beds, Herts & Bucks

Cat rescued after Bedford river bridge fall

Cat being rescued Image copyright Steve Humm
Image caption The cat was perched just feet from the rushing river

A flood rescue boat had to be called out to save a cat which had fallen off a bridge and got stranded.

Cookie the cat plunged into the River Great Ouse in Bedford but managed to scramble on to a bridge support.

But the fearless feline turned into a scaredy cat and, unable to climb to safety, had to be rescued by the fire service using a specialist flood boat and an inflatable raft.

The microchipped cat was unharmed and returned safely to her owner.

One-year-old Cookie had been missing from her home for five days before being spotted shortly before 16:00 GMT on Saturday, the RSPCA said.

She had been let out for the first time since moving to a new home, but it is not known how she came to be on the town centre bridge in St Mary's Street five miles (8km) away.

Image copyright Steve Humm
Image caption The cat had fallen into the water from the top of the bridge

However, when a member of the public tried to stroke Cookie, she "must have panicked and sadly fell into the water", Insp Carrie O'Riordan from the animal charity said.

"She was dragged along by the current for a moment or two before she was able to scramble up on to the bottom section of the bridge - but was then well and truly stuck.

"It was terrifying to see her so close to the fast-flowing water, hanging on for her life," she said.

Image copyright Steve Humm
Image caption Fire crews put the animal in a cage and rowed back to shore

A water rescue team was despatched and using an inflatable sled brought the animal back to dry land.

Image copyright Steve Humm
Image caption The soggy moggy was too embarrassed to look at her rescuer's camera
Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption Cookie was a little bedraggled, but otherwise unharmed by her five-day adventure, the RSPCA said
Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption The cat was, however, very hungry

"We have trained and equipped a large animal rescue team based at Kempston Fire Station who deal with numerous incidents each month," Group Commander Steve Humm, from Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said.

Ms O'Riordan added: "It was great to be able to scan Cookie's microchip and take her back into the arms of her owner straight away.

"She was overjoyed to have her back and it was great to see them both so happy, especially after Cookie's shocking ordeal."

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