One down, eight to go: Cat lucky to be alive after unusual rescue

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LAKE ODESSA, Mich. – On a typical day at the Lake Odessa Cattle Auction, the only audible sounds you can hear once the selling gets underway are the moos and neighs of the livestock and the "Going-once-going-twice-sold!" calls of the fast-talking auctioneer.

But January 19, Kendall Tobias, a longtime seller and buyer at the auction, heard something that didn’t quite belong, and it’s a good thing he did. What he found led to a dramatic feline rescue.

“We couldn’t believe it,” said Kendall. “I come out here, I look down, here’s two eyeballs sticking through that drain.”

Those eyeballs belonged to the kitty now known as Bubbles. The feral cat had climbed through nearly 80 feet of pipe and managed to get her head stuck through a small opening in a drain cover, the rest of her body left dangling, possibly for days.

Kendall and a few others removed the pipe – Bubbles still inside – and gently pushed her head free through the bottom.

“It laid there for a few minutes, like it was dead," Kendall said. "About 15 minutes later, we take another look at it; it was breathing.”

So the rescuers rushed Bubbles to nearby Thornapple Veterinary Clinic in Wayland. Amazingly, Bubbles suffered only a few scrapes and some swollen eyelids, but nothing serious.

“All in all, she’s doing great,” said Leslie Lettinga, the veterinary technician who cared for Bubbles. “She lost probably five [lives] with this, I think, or maybe even seven, so she’s got a couple left.”

The clinic will hold on to Bubbles for another week, so they can monitor her recovery and administer a few more vaccinations. After that, the clinic will begin seeking a forever home for this lucky cat.

If you’re interested in adopting Bubbles, you can contact the Thornapple Veterinary Clinic.

The vets will be sad to see Bubbles go, but they’re happy and grateful Kendall and his fellow do-gooders took the time to save her life.

“You’re not going to leave an animal in distress,” said Lettinga. “It doesn’t matter if it’s somebody’s kitty or not, you’re going take care of that cat and not leave it in that tube to let it die there and suffer. I’m very glad they took time out of their day. They have a very busy schedule over there with all that cattle coming through but they took time to help this animal in distress.”

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