Fire brigade chops up sofa to free trapped kitten

A 12-week-old kitten has been rescued from inside a sofa after firefighters chopped it up with hacksaws and hydraulic cutters.

The kitten's owners were "very grateful" after officers from North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service saved the pet on Thursday afternoon at their family home in Tadcaster.

Emma Clark, who owns the kitten with her husband Stuart, said she was relieved to be reunited with the pet.

"They absolutely saved her life," the 30-year-old mother-of-three said. "Without them she absolutely would not be here."

She added that it was a "shame about the sofa", which was six months old and was destroyed during the rescue operation.

The female kitten, named Cocoa, had crawled under the living room sofa and moved its head into the furniture's mechanism, where it became stuck, the fire service said.

Firefighters spent more than an hour cutting through the sofa with hacksaws and bolt cutters after the owner told them they could do "whatever they needed" to free the feline.

Mr Clark held Cocoa still while firefighters dismantled the sofa.

Bob Hoskins, station manager for prevention at North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, said he had not seen such a case in his 23 years with the service.

"Small animal rescues are quite common," he said. "We get dogs stuck in holes, and cats up trees is a common one, but a cat in a sofa is a first."

The kitten was "wriggling around in panic" during the operation and "making quite a lot of noise", the fire service said, but suffered no physical injuries.

Mr Hoskins said kittens are "naturally inquisitive at that age", advising owners: "You've just got to be aware that if you're sat on a chair, the cat might be underneath.

"It's a very rare occurrence, and fortunately on this occasion it all turned out OK."

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