By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
For three hours Friday morning, a stray cat was on top of the world — and doing anything but enjoying it on the 100 block of north First Street in Tucumcari.
Gwen Martinez-Aragon said she walked outside and heard a cat meowing. She said she began to search for it and was startled to discover the cat was sitting atop a power pole next to her residence on North First Street.
“I felt so bad for the cat and was worried that it could be electrocuted if it wasn’t brought down,” Martinez-Aragon said, explaining that she contacted the Tucumcari Central Dispatch to get the cat some assistance. She said she had frustration after dispatch advised her that there was nothing that could be done.
The Tucumcari Police Department received a call at 11:21 a.m., Friday about a cat on a power pole, said Police Chief Jason Braziel, who added that the department lacks the resources to climb the power pole. What’s more, he said the city doesn’t have the equipment to retrieve the cat. There is no bucket truck available for city personnel to use, Braziel added.
Braziel said the animal control officer did respond to the call. He said the cat was believed to have climbed the pole after being chased by a dog. There were no dogs in the area and they thought the cat might climb down on its own.
Martinez-Aragon said she posted an image of the cat on her Facebook page and asked for ideas on how to get the cat down from the utility pole.
An Xcel Energy crew responded to the area at 1:30 p.m. and the cat was brought down safely.
Rescuing animals from power poles is not a statistic Xcel Energy tracks, said Wes Reeves, spokesman for the utility company.
Reeves said he has been working media relations full time for 10 years and can only remember two or three times when Xcel was called in to rescue an animal.
Reeves said that as a general rule, Xcel won’t send a crew to perform an animal rescue unless it’s an extreme case. He said even then, Xcel couldn’t call a crew away from restoration efforts or construction work.
The last time Reeves could recall the company rescuing a cat was when a tabby had been stranded for several days in the heat. Xcel had a crew available to help, he said.
“It seems cats have no reverse gear,” Reeves said. “They can climb a pole in a flash but they’re perplexed as to how to climb down. I’ve had to climb into my neighbor’s tree twice to rescue our cat from about 20 feet up. It’s a delicate maneuver.”
Martinez-Aragon said the family has decided to keep the cat, which now lives beneath the house.
“We got a new pet and a solution to the mouse problem under the house,” Martinez-Aragon said, “and the cat has a new home.”