DRACULA lives - not the vampire but a nine-year-old, nine-kilogram black moggy.
Drackie, as he is known by owner Carmel Henebery, found himself in a spot of bother on Wednesday afternoon when he became wedged between two brick walls at Culburra Beach.
Not normally a wanderer, he got stuck between the wall of his owner’s business, Ocean’s Mirror, and the neighbouring property.
The cat, which is more than 60cm long, got stuck in a gap narrower than the width of a Dolphin torch.
He was more than four metres in and couldn’t move forward or back.
Ms Henebery said she heard her cat’s cries for help early in the afternoon.
What followed was more than a three-hour operation to rescue the adventurer.
“It was just after lunch that I heard his cries and ascertained that he was stuck between the two buildings,” she said.
“I didn’t know what to do. I’d never even contemplated him even getting in there, he is so big.”
Culburra Beach police were called but senior constable Anthony Jory, known as Fingers in the community, decided it was a job for Ambulance Rescue.
District operations manager Faye Stockman and rescue paramedics Anthony Chater and David Edge were dispatched with the Shoalhaven Rescue truck to undertake the rescue operation.
Numerous attempts were made to free the distressed feline.
After pinpointing his actual location with a telescopic light probe, the rescuers removed a number of bricks.
Paramedics Edge and Chater used a large drill to make holes in a number of bricks to gain access.
Again Dracula proved elusive, wriggling away from the opening and wedging himself even further between the walls.
Eventually, more bricks were removed and the oversized cat was gently pulled towards safety.
But another barrier found its way to halt the rescue, with the moggy getting stuck between the brickwork and an overhanging concert slab.
Parts of the 20mm concrete overhang were removed before paramedic Edge reached in and released the relieved moggy.
Throughout the drama senior constable Jory provided headline ideas such as “Culburra Catastrophy”, “Dracula rises from Culburra Catacomb” and “Cat caught in Catacombs at Culburra”.
Ms Henebery said she could not thank Dracula’s rescuers enough.
“I’m just so grateful, I know this is not their jobs but the paramedics were just fantastic.”
For paramedics Edge and Chater it was just another day on the job.
“At least it wasn’t stuck up a tree which we often get,” said paramedic Chater, who is allergic to cats.
“I’ve done a few cat rescues over the years but that’s the best one I’ve been part of.”
For paramedic Edge it has been a busy couple of months on the rescue front – first he was involved in the rescue of a woman from the top of the Shoalhaven River bridge, then saved a horse from swollen floodwaters at Falls Creek and now he’s rescued a trapped cat.
“I’ve done possums and the odd cat before, but never anything like this,” he said.
“He was well and truly stuck, he wasn’t going anywhere.
“It’s great to get such a good outcome.”
As for Dracula, he was off into the shop finding another spot in which to hide and recover before being taken to the local vet, while Ms Henebery said it was time he went on a diet.