Lewis County PUD rescues cat and prevents power outages

By Isabel Vander Stoep / [email protected]

Raven is an adorable fluffy black cat.

Unlike real crows, when he found himself on top of a power pole in Adna, Raven the cat couldn’t fly. Plus, his climbing abilities match the reputation of other cats: he’s better at climbing things than going down them.

Ken and Julie Wiseman received a knock on their door Monday afternoon from a stranger who asked if the cat on top of the electricity pole in the street belonged to them. The couple had not seen their cat, Raven, for a few days. But that was typical for them, said Ken Wiseman, a longtime grocery controller at Safeway. Their four male cats often wander to neighbors to spend time with them, so they weren’t bothered.

When they walked to the pole about 100 yards down the road from their home, there was Raven at the top, panting and meowing in the afternoon heat, stressed and dangerously close to the power line.

Ken Wiseman said the cat walked back and forth along the wooden crossbar and sparks flew as the cat’s fur approached the line.

The next pole has a transformer that powers the Wiseman’s house. If Raven had climbed that one, he probably wouldn’t have made it to the top alive, let alone come back down.

At first, the Wisemans called Lewis County Fire District 6, their local station. While they wanted to help, the station said there was too much responsibility taken on when sending a firefighter to the top of a power pole. Getting near the live wire was just too dangerous.

The station gave the family the name of a cat rescue service, but the duo decided to call the Lewis County Public Service District (PUD) and let them know they were planning someone one tries to save their beloved Raven.

Within minutes, PUD personnel who were on National Route 6 were on the scene. The same risks weighed by the fire station – such as the cat touching the line while touching one of its rescuers, thus electrocuting them or the cat jumping on the line and causing a breakdown, among others – decided them to turn the power line down.

“You know, it wasn’t the ‘Oh, woe to me’ old lady, it was ‘We have a cat and that might be a problem.’ That’s how they saw it,” Ken Wiseman said.

Julie Wiseman added: “It was more of an emergency because we would have a breakdown if he hit the wire.”

In about five minutes, the cat was rescued and returned to its owner’s arms, and power was restored moments later.

“The best part about it is that they weren’t like, ‘Oh not that again.’ Not even remotely. They were very professional. It was like, ‘Oh my god, if that was my cat,’ that sort of thing,” Ken Wiseman said.

Lewis County PUD Energy Services Specialist Jacob Henry said this is a rare case, and in general they encourage others in a similar situation to call 911, and responders Local emergency responders can determine whether to call the PUD.

“To bring the animals down safely is not an easy task as their reactions are unpredictable to the workers trying to help,” Henry wrote in an email. “Looks like it was a great outcome for everyone involved, especially the chat! …Finally, we always encourage customers to call the PUD trouble line whenever an outage exists.