Recently, Fort Lauderdale, FL firefighters were called to the residence of New York Giants cornerback Isaac Yiadom. However, they weren’t there because of a fire. Instead, the firefighters had been called in because a kitten had gotten stuck in Yiadom’s car. Fortunately, the people on the scene were able to jack up the car before dissembling enough of it to reach the kitten, thus resulting in a successful rescue.
Why Do Cats Wind Up in These Situations Anyways?
Such stories are not uncommon. Sometimes, a cat has climbed up into a tree before becoming either unable or unwilling to climb down. Other times, a cat has managed to wander into the walls of someone’s home, thus requiring concerned parties to cut them out. Whatever the exact circumstances, this kind of thing happens because cats have certain instincts that encourage them to behave in ways that can lead to such results.
For starters, cats are curious creatures, which makes sense because they have retained a lot of instincts from their wild ancestors. Those who are curious should know that the latter can be considered predators that were predated upon. As such, cats’ wild ancestors had twice the incentive to scout out their surroundings.
First, cats need to eat on a regular basis. In turn, this means that cats need to be capable of catching small birds, mammals, and other animals on a regular basis. Otherwise, cats will become more and more impaired because of hunger, thus reducing their chances of hunting success more and more. On top of this, they are obligate carnivores. As such, cats can’t fill their stomachs by eating other kinds of food in the same way that pigs, bears, and humans can, meaning that they don’t have a real alternative to hunting for their food. Naturally, knowing their surroundings will make matters easier for cats, particularly since small birds, mammals, and other animals like to take advantage of cracks, crevices, and a wide range of other convenient hiding spots.
Second, cats need to watch out for bigger predators. Simply put, their wild ancestors weren’t apex predators at the top of the food chain. Instead, cats started out as animals that predated upon some species while being predated upon by other species, meaning that they needed their own counters to the latter. For example, cats are somewhere between nocturnal and crepuscular, which is important because the need for night vision means that there are fewer predators active during those times. Similarly, cats are more than capable of using their teeth and their claws to protect themselves, though this is very much a last resort because even successful fights come with a real risk of injury that can be extremely detrimental to their normal activities. However, the best solution would have been avoiding predators altogether, which once again, was something that knowing their surroundings would have been very helpful with.
Regardless, the result is that cats like to look around their territory for points of interest. In fact, chances are good that interested individuals have seen them climbing up to high locations as well as concealing themselves into small spaces, both of which make excellent sense. After all, not every predator can climb very well, meaning that a cat situated high up is safer than a cat situated down low. Furthermore, higher locations enable their occupants to see a much broader swathe of the world around them than otherwise possible, which is a huge advantage when looking for prey as well as when looking out for predators. As for the small spaces, well, suffice to say that being concealed is much better than being exposed out in the open. It reduces the potential angles of attack. Furthermore, it lowers the chance that the cat will need to be concerned about potential angles of attack in the first place.
Unfortunately, it is very much possible for a cat’s curiosity to get them into trouble. For example, a cat might climb up before finding out that climbing down is much more difficult. Something that is particularly likely because a cat’s claws are much better-suited for the first activity than for the second activity. Similarly, if a cat chooses to investigate a dark hole, there is a real chance of them heading in too far, losing their bearings, and then getting stuck because they can’t find their way back. Perhaps unsurprisingly, cats aren’t any better at decision-making when panicked than humans, which can compound their problems.
What Should You Do If You Discover a Similar Situation?
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. As such, if people are concerned about cats getting stuck, they should look into ways to preventing them from getting stuck in the first place. For instance, it can be a good idea to keep a cat indoors rather than let them outdoors from time to time. This eliminates the potential for them to get into trouble outside. Furthermore, this eliminates their exposure to a wide range of potential outdoor hazards, which include but are by no means limited to predators, pathogens, and the wheels of moving vehicles. Of course, interested individuals should also make sure that the insides of their homes are safe for their cats. Part of this process will involve regular inspections to make sure that there are no cracks and crevices that can be investigated by the curious animals. However, interested individuals should also look into various kinds of cat-proofing to patch up things that are a non-issue for humans but potentially problematic for cats.
Besides this, if people are concerned about cats getting into their cars, it is a good idea for them to check for feline presence before starting up the latter. This can be done by banging the hood and stomping on the floorboard to see if there is a response. Furthermore, if people want to be extra-sure, they should also open up the hood for a quick look. Said measures aren’t perfect, which is why interested individuals should combine them with the aforementioned prevention methods.
In any case, if people see a cat that has gotten stuck, they should contact animal control. After all, they are the ones with the relevant expertise and experience, particularly since firefighters won’t necessarily agree to help out with such cases. Failing that, interested individuals should contact veterinarians and animal welfare organizations, who should be able to point them in the right direction.