After nine days stuck atop a power pole, help finally arrives for Fat Boy the cat

A black and white cat named Fat Boy was rescued from a power pole in southwest Fresno on Tuesday morning after being perched there for nine days without food and water, not budging from its 45-foot-high seat despite the wind and rain the city got Sunday.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. linemen retrieved the cat from a pole in a backyard in the 2000 block of Holly Avenue, shimmying up the pole, smoothly putting Fat Boy in a crate, then lowering him down.

Fourteen-year-old Andrew Perez, the cat’s owner, said his family had asked the fire department and other agencies for help, but to no avail.

“We called everyone – anyone that could help, but they didn’t come,” he said. “He’s a nice cat. He probably went up there because he got scared by a dog. I was scared.”

Silver Villa, who owns a Hanford-based nonprofit called Paw Lives Matter, said local tree services also had declined to retrieve the cat. Villa injected Fat Boy with fluids upon its rescue. The cat immediately began eating and appeared healthy.

“I figured somebody would’ve helped by now. I just wanted to make sure the cat was going to be saved, and I wasn’t going to get off the phone until it was,” Villa said. “He’s pretty healthy for being up there this long.”

Power to 250 homes in the area was shut off for a few hours so PG&E could rescue the cat, said company spokesman Denny Boyles.

“It’s not a simple thing to climb a power pole and get a cat down,” he said. “The first thing we have to do is de-energize the line – it’s a 12,000-volt line. The safety of the two guys who went up on the pole, and the crew member on the ground, has to be our first priority every time.

“Sometimes we wait out cats on poles … 99 percent of the time, cats come down on their own. In this case, it’s been up there that long, we just made the decision to go ahead and go up there.”

The PG&E workers installed animal-deterrent plastic to prevent Fat Boy or other animals from making the excursion in the future.

Mackenzie Mays: 559-441-6412, @MackenzieMays