Gypsy, a black and white cat, had been trapped on top of a power pole in Phoenix, Ariz., since Friday when KNXV, an ABC affiliate, posted a livestream of her plight Monday morning to Facebook.
In the hour before a neighbor armed with a ladder rescued Gypsy around 11 a.m. local time, half a million people had watched the saga and concerned cat-lovers from across the United States had flooded 911 dispatchers with more than 100 calls demanding authorities save the cat, the Phoenix Fire Department told The Arizona Republic. So many people called about Gypsy that the dispatching center nearly came to a “screeching halt,” officials said.
Capt. Rob McDade told the publication that dispatchers fielded calls from New Jersey, Ohio and Florida as well as the Phoenix area.
At one point, someone moderating the KNXV livestream asked viewers to stop calling 911 about the cat, according to the Phoenix New Times.
“They appreciate the concern for this cat, but they are kindly asking for you to not call 911 in regards to this particular situation,” the moderator said. “They are aware of the incident and they are doing everything that they can to get this cat down from this electricity pole.”
The KNXV livestream on Facebook had 678,000 views, 14,000 likes and nearly 10,000 shares – along with 19,600 comments, many suggesting possible ways to rescue the cat, though not all were serious.
“If you flood the city, the water level will be closer to the top of the (pole),” advised one commenter. Others demanded to know why firefighters had not saved the cat.
“Poor baby. Call the fire department to get him down,” wrote one. “OMG... please help the kitty. This is too sad,” posted another.
Phoenix firefighters frequently do respond to calls about rescuing animals, but did not respond this time because a utility crew was already en route, officials told the Phoenix New Times.
Many livestream comments, however, expressed anger at the TV station for posting the livestream and at viewers for calling 911.
“Stop wasting time and money ... I’m sure there is actually something important people there could be doing ... this is absurd,” wrote one commenter.
“Hey look a cat stuck up on a pole. We better call the fire department to rescue him. Wait I have a better idea, let’s set up a live feed of the cat stuck on the pole,” commented another.