Gypsy the cat, according to his name, comes and goes, disappearing from home for weeks at a time. The cat, who cherishes his independence, is reliant on the generosity of his Phoenix, Arizona neighbors, who set out food and water for him.
So when the black and white cat went missing over the weekend, no one thought anything was wrong.
On Friday, the daring cat found himself into a pickle when he climbed an electrical pole, which proved out to be a lot higher perch than he had imagined.
The small cat hung to the pole for three days, unable to figure out how to go back down.
It wasn’t until Monday morning that worried neighbors reported the cat, and a local ABC News station came on the site to film the unfolding rescue operation, which was streamed live on Facebook.
Thousands of people from around the country tuned in for an hour and a half to watch Gypsy as he laid on top of the pole, sat on the pole, licked himself, attempted to get off, changed his mind, and licked himself some more.
Concerned for the cat’s safety, animal enthusiasts began phoning 911, even informing the mayor. The Phoenix Fire Department received so many calls that they issued a statement to the local media requesting that people refrain from calling since it was clogging their dispatcher’s activity.
“We adore animals,” Phoenix Fire Captain Rob McDade told AZ Central, “but although [callers] may feel justified in their emotional reaction, we have human lives to rescue at the same time.”
When aid did not arrive quickly, one witness took matters into his own hands, ascending a ladder and lifting a bucket tied to a pole. He persuaded Gypsy to join him, but the cat refused, preferring to wait for a more personal helping hand.
And then, the live feed cut out.
Fortunately, a local Fox News station was also following the story under the headline “Cat Watch,” and they were able to capture Gypsy’s heroic rescue on tape. A utility worker with a very long ladder ascended the live power pole, and Gypsy appeared to be safely back on the ground.
The man then reached his arm out, just touching the cat’s fur. As the ladder came to a halt, everyone exclaimed.
But the unknown rescuer persisted, walking onto the last rung of the flimsy ladder and skillfully grabbing the cat off the pole. He carefully descended the ladder, tucking Gypsy safely under his arm.
Gypsy, like the hundreds of millions of watchers, was plainly exhausted yet relieved.
Jenny Hardin and Ash Morgan, the owners of Gypsy, were relieved that assistance had arrived on time. “I know him well enough that he could have jumped, and knowing him, he probably would have,” Hardin told AZ Family, “but thank heavens he didn’t because that is a little high for a cat.”
Gypsy’s live video had over 800,000 views in only 24 hours, making headlines across the country. Though the narrative has a happy conclusion, whether Gypsy’s adventurous spirit has been tamed as a result of his adventure is unknown.