A young cat was rescued by the RSPCA and West Yorkshire firefighters after becoming precariously stuck on the ledge of a viaduct in Huddersfield town centre.

Concerned members of the public contacted the animal welfare charity after the cat was seen perched near the top of the bridge on Lower Viaduct Street.

RSPCA animal rescue officer Emmeline Myall attended the scene on Tuesday March 5 but her ladder wasn’t long enough to reach the cat – who was about 45ft (13.7 metres) up – and a call to West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service was made.

Emmeline and a firefighter went up in a cherry picker to rescue him and after a little bit of coaxing he was caught and brought down to safety in a basket. 

It was unsafe to release the cat at the location and there was no owner on the scene, so he was taken to the charity’s Greater Manchester Animal Hospital in Salford where he was checked over and given flea and worming treatment. He is now in the care of the RSPCA’s Rochdale & District Branch and will be rehomed from their centre in due course if no owner comes forward. 

Lost and found posters have been put up at the location urging the owner to get in touch. 

Emmeline said: “As we went up in the cherry picker to try and rescue him a couple of trains went past at speed. It must have been a terrifying experience and he was very lucky to escape serious injury.

“Looking at the location, he must have walked along the tracks for some time before stopping where he did. I don’t think I’ve ever rescued a cat from such a precarious situation before.

“I got him into my basket and he was understandably timid and scared at first, but he soon settled down once he was quieter in the back of my van. He was in good health but not microchipped which is such a shame as I suspect he may be owned and someone could be missing him.

“The fire service were amazing, we are always so grateful for their help in situations like this, and I’d like to say a huge thank you to the crew for the care and compassion they showed.”

Steven O’ Keefe, Watch Commander on Blue Watch, said: “We used the aerial appliance and sent that up with firefighter Sam Baxter and an RSPCA officer.

“Once we got alongside the cat we persuaded him to come closer and then got him into a cat box. It’s one of the more unusual cat rescues I’ve attended but we’re happy it all ended well.”

From June 10 2024 it will be a legal requirement to microchip pet cats in England after they reach 20 weeks of age. Owners will also be required to keep their contact details up-to-date on a pet microchipping database.

The RSPCA believes microchipping is the most reliable way of ensuring owners are reunited with lost, injured or stolen pets, no matter where they are found or how long they have been missing.

Owners found not to have microchipped their cat will have 21 days to get one implanted or may face a fine of up to £500.