A Farnham vet joined fire crews in a mercy dash after a cat's fluffy tail became trapped in a sofa.
Owners Caroline and Nigel Lancaster, from Farnborough, were horrified as three-year-old rescue Bella disappeared inside the electric recliner.
The couple tried to free the cat they’d only got from the Millbrook RSPCA a few weeks earlier, but her tail was wrapped around the mechanism, and she was wailing in distress.
Vet Adina Brinzoi, from the Vets Now clinic in Farnham, dashed to the scene along with fire crews and Bella was finally freed after a delicate 90-minute operation.
Bella needed urgent care at the clinic and ultimately had to have her badly injured tail amputated, but she has since made a remarkable recovery.
Caroline had been keeping the electric recliners off for Bella’s protection, but she got under after one was accidentally switched on and raised.
“My mum tried to put it down within seconds, but we could hear Bella wailing and realised she was trapped,” said Caroline.
“When my husband and I lifted it up, we could see she was hanging, trapped by her fluffy tail in the mechanism. When I tried to free her, she dug her teeth and claws in, probably in pain and fear.
“We put the sofa on its side so I could sit under her and take her weight. It was awful as she started panting heavily because of the shock and tugging to get out.
“There was no way we could free her, and we needed urgent help.”
With her own vets closed for the evening, Caroline got through to the Vets Now clinic in Farnham. It’s one of more than 60 clinics and hospitals across the UK that are open seven days a week for out-of-hours pet emergencies.
Vet Adina and nurse Charlotte Bryant raced to the scene, along with the fire brigade who’d been called to help get Bella free.
“We knew every minute counted as we had to get Bella pain relief,” said Adina.
“We did that straight away and then the fire brigade said it would take quite a time to dismantle the whole mechanism. We were worried Bella would do more damage to her tail by struggling, so we anaesthetised her and Charlotte kept monitoring her while the fire crew worked.
“When she was eventually freed, I could see what a bad state her tail was in, so we took her back to the clinic.”
After sedation and pain relief overnight, Bella was assessed by her own vets the following day and it was decided that her tail was too badly damaged to be saved.
But she has shrugged off the amputation and is showing no ill effects of her ordeal.
“There is only a very small part of her tail left and we were worried it might affect her balance or cause other problems,” said Caroline. “Thankfully she is just fine and back to how she was before the accident.
“It was a horrible, stressful experience, but we’re so grateful to Vets Now and the fire brigade for all their great work.
“The fire brigade said they were seeing more cases like ours, so it’s definitely a warning for other owners.”