Paramedic Saves Cat’s Life

By: Allison Hunt
By: Allison Hunt

Knoxville (WVLT) - Saving lives is something paramedics and firefighters do almost everyday.

Whether it's a human or an animal, a life is a life.

Such was the case early Wednesday morning as paramedics worked feverishly to save a cat rescued from a burning home.

As volunteer TV’s Allison Hunt reports, Zoey still has eight lives left.

"It would definitely be a 9 life cat,” says paramedic Lee Rayburn.

For about 30 minutes paramedics with Rural Metro gave oxygen to Zoey, a cat caught in a house fire early Wednesday morning.

"We got the cat I guess in the knick of time, and it really truly was because there was a lot of smoke and a lot of heat in that bedroom where the cat was,” says Rayburn.

The five year old cat is actually white, but the smoke turned her fur gray, making it hard for lee Rayburn and his partner to find her.

When they finally did, they say she was taking rapid breaths.

"That typically is not a good sign, even in humans, you just don't move much air when you do that, and it's usually preeminent to death,” Rayburn says. "They immediately put it on the oxygen mask like we would a human and the cat really perked up quick with oxygen."

Dr. Joe Kendrick said she was brought to the Asheville Highway Animal Clinic in bad shape. "Immediately give her some anti-inflammatory drugs which are designed to keep lungs from being so inflamed and to put her on oxygen therapy."

Zoey will stay in an incubator for at least 24 hours.

Dr. Kendrick says she'll have x-rays to see home much damage she has to her lungs. "The main thing right now is to allow her to calm down so that she's not going to be stressed out from the ordeal she endured."

Rayburn says it's not at all uncommon for paramedics to do this. "I'd say several times a year we'll end up giving oxygen to some pet."

Paramedics say the owner's did the right thing by allowing them to find the cat.

They say it's never a good idea to go back inside a burning home to find anything yourself.


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  • by Sandra Grice Location: Knoxville on May 24, 2007 at 10:35 AM
    I was so touched by the rescue of Zoey the cat - I have 2 cats of my own who are like children to me. What a wonderful work these folks do. I recently published a book called The Dove and The Donkey - about how imporatnt animals are to all of us. As a gesture of gratitude, I would like to give a copy to Lee Rayburn if you could help me get in touch with him. If I have enough copies I would also like to donate one to each of the Rural Metro centers in Knoxville. Thank you for carrying the story!
  • by Pam on May 24, 2007 at 08:51 AM
    what happeded is so sad and hope everyone is ok, but as for what happened it makes my day to see others care for animals, they have everything we have to live, To the fighters YOU HAVE A GREAT HEART for animals to. THANK YOU for caring for our animals to.

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