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Chiswick RNLI crew make sure this cat will enjoy nine lives

Lifeboats News Release

At 2.22pm on Sunday 7 June 2020 Chiswick Lifeboat launched to a cat stranded on the foreshore.

The crew had spotted a black cat in distress on a rapidly diminishing patch of shingle at the foot of a 6m high river wall. They were concerned that one of the crowd of onlookers was going to put themselves in danger in an attempt to rescue the cat.

The crew have rescued many dogs who are usually glad to see their human rescuers, but cats display very different behaviour. This cat greeted the crew by snarling and spitting, and then tried to climb the sheer wall. He then wriggled out of the clutches of RNLI crewman Mark Pusey and started swimming away. Mark waded after him and, after some gentle encouragement, managed to wrap the cat in a blanket and took him into the lifeboat. The cat was brought ashore shore and released unharmed. In true Tom & Jerry-style, the cat then shot off ‘stage left’ pursued by a dog.

RNLI Helmsman James Anthony explained ‘The RNLI crews often rescue animals in order to prevent their owners from putting themselves in harm’s way. On this occasion we were just in time. The little strip of foreshore was completely covered by the rapidly rising tide by the time the cat was brought ashore.’

Mark Pusey added ‘This incident had a good outcome but does show how easily the fast flowing tides can turn a benign environment into a very dangerous one. If you see a person, or an animal, in trouble in the water please call 999 immediately and ask for the coastguard. The RNLI lifeboats on the Thames can be at any incident in minutes.’

Chiswick RNLI lifeboat station is the second busiest in the UK and Ireland. Since The RNLI search and rescue service on the Thames started in 2002, Chiswick Lifeboat has attended over 3,500 incidents and rescued over 1,750 people. The RNLI is entirely funded by public donations.

RNLI media contacts

  • David Clarke RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer (Chiswick), 07951 210500 [email protected]
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 33678
Cat safely on board the lifeboat

RNLI/David Clarke

Cat safely on board the lifeboat
Cat reluctant to be saved

RNLI/David Clarke

Cat reluctant to be saved

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.