A SIX-WEEK-OLD kitten cashed in one of its nine lives on Friday when it survived a house fire in Nowra thanks to the resourcefulness of NSW Ambulance paramedics.
NSW Ambulance paramedics used a paediatric mask and oxygen to save the life of the kitten, nicknamed Smoky, on Friday evening.
Emergency services were called to Kalandar Street, Nowra, at 11.10pm following reports of a house well alight.
Paramedics Kim Saunders and Nick Gibson were part of the response team.
Paramedic Saunders said an officer from Fire and Rescue NSW came out of the burning building holding a small object – which turned out to be the unconscious male kitten.
She said the firefighter had been inside the house searching for occupants when he heard sounds of distress.
He took to his hands and knees on the floor, finally spotting the kitten under a bed.
By the time both had made it outside, the kitten had succumbed to smoke inhalation.
His body was limp and patches of white fur on his chest, face and paws were barely visible through soot.
“The fire officer gave the kitten some rescue breaths before signalling to us and placing the kitten on the ground. He then ran back into the building,” Paramedic Saunders said.
“At first, we didn’t know what to do. I thought, ‘I’ll give it some oxygen and see what happens’.
“So we put on a paediatric mask with some oxygen, dried the kitten off and wrapped him up.
“After about 15 minutes he came to and actually started purring.
“At one stage his head popped off the mask but he put it back in so he must have been enjoying it.”
Paramedic Saunders said thankfully no people were at home at the time of the fire
The home’s owner was visiting down the street and returned to the scene to find that at least her kitten had been saved.
“We took the kitten over to her. You could still feel it purring through the towel. She gave it a little kiss,” Paramedic Saunders said.
This is the third time this year Paramedic Saunders, a paramedic of 15 years, has been involved in the rescue of a pet.
The first was on New Year’s Eve when she saved a puppy running along the highway at South Nowra; the second two weeks ago when she rescued a Labrador puppy that had been cornered by foxes.
“My sister is a former veterinary nurse – she says I missed my calling,” Paramedic Saunders said.
Paramedic Gibson is also an animal lover and has been a volunteer with Wildlife Rescue South Coast for the past seven years.