ELKINS, W.Va. — The teams playing fall ball at Bluegrass Park Thursday evening had an unexpected guest. A kitten had climbed high above the field on the backstop and was having a hard time getting down.
The spectacle attracted quite a crowd watching to see if the feline was going to make it back to the ground, but it continued to climb higher and higher.
One of the volunteers manning the concession stand called for the Elkins Volunteer Fire Department to come and rescue the kitten, but as the firemen went to grab him, he climbed out of their reach, eventually making it to the very top of the backstop, about 30 to 40 feet in the air.
Austin Buck and Hunter “Opie” Dudley began climbing the backstop, determined to rescue the kitten. Austin, who is a sophomore at Elkins High School, had been at Bluegrass watching his brother play ball. He said afterward he was determined to help get the cat down to safety, even though he is not particularly fond of felines.
“But I wanted to help the kitten because he looked scared,” Austin said. “He had been there since we arrived here about 6 p.m. tonight.”
As Austin began to climb, Hunter was right beside him, but Austin was taller and made it to the top quickly. At first the kitten looked even more frightened, but Austin held out his hand and gently stroked the kitten to help calm him down. Once he picked up the kitten from his high perch, the animal began to flail and scratch, and it was obvious Austin was not going to be able to hold on to him for much longer.
Two men on the field quickly grabbed a blanket and made a safety net to catch the frightened feline. Austin moved the kitten over the waiting cover and carefully let him fall into the blanket, unharmed. The crowd cheered and when Austin and Hunter carefully made their way to the ground they were met with handshakes and hugs for rescuing the stranded kitten.
Mayor Van Broughton called to Bluegrass Park just as the rescue ended to see what he could do to help.
Broughton had been in an Elkins City Council meeting and was unable to get back in touch with those trying to get the kitten down from its high perch. Broughton said he was glad everyone, including the kitten, was safe and that the event had a happy ending.