20170807_152229A Port Talbot cat was rescued from a house fire, and given crucial oxygen therapy from specialist feline-friendly equipment.

The house fire occurred on Jersey Street in Port Talbot on Saturday 15 July. Fire crews from Neath and Port Talbot attended to tackle the blaze.

A man had managed to exit the property prior to the arrival of firefighters, and went to a local hospital via ambulance. However, a cat – still in the property – was rescued by firefighters, and given the critical oxygen therapy, before being taken to a veterinary practice by RSPCA Cymru.

The mask allowed firefighters to administer specialist therapy to the cat, with the device specifically designed for felines and canines suffering from breathing difficulties.

A local family have been looking after the cat after the incident, and have nicknamed her Sophie.

Fire crews were at the property for 61 minutes in total, with the blaze extinguished utilising four breathing apparatus, two thermal imaging cameras, two hose reel jets, two covering jets and a positive pressure ventilation fan.

The oxygen therapy masks were donated to Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service in 2016 by the Smokey Paws not-for-profit, with this incident highlighting their “potential in saving the lives of pets”.

Smokey Paws aims to get specially designed pet oxygen masks into fire services across the UK, as well as multi-animal establishments.  Additional information is available via their website. They were recently recognised by the RSPCA, at their annual Honours event. They were recognised with the William Wilberforce Award, for their efforts in furthering the link between human and animal welfare.

RSPCA inspector Gemma Cooper said: “It was fantastic to be able to help Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service with this rescue.

“It’s fantastic to see the lengths firefighters went to in helping this cat – and clearly the oxygen masks donated by Smokey Paws played a pivotal role in ensuring the animal’s welfare, with their potential in saving the lives of pets clear to see.

“This incident is another brilliant example of what can be achieved for Wales’ animals when we work in collaboration.”

Smokey Paws Founder Brian Lockyer said: “Specially designed pet oxygen masks are more effective on pets than the human masks often used to try and revive pets by first responders.

“We’re so pleased to hear that the masks have helped this cat in Port Talbot. This just further highlights how important it is to help equip emergency services with these critical lifesaving devices for cats and dogs.

“By providing one special animal oxygen kit for each fire engine in the country as well as providing them to sanctuaries and shelters, we hope to enable first responders to save even more animals lives.”

Station Manager Sean Lloyd, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “Thanks to the fundraising efforts of individuals and organisations, through the Smokey Paws Charity, the donation of oxygen therapy masks has enhanced Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s capability to rescue and recover cats and dogs from fires.

“These oxygen therapy masks, which are designed specifically to be used by cats and dogs, have been provided to Fire Stations in Llanwrtyd Wells, Builth Wells, Llandrindod Wells, Aberystwyth, Carmarthen, Newcastle Emlyn, Whitland, Llanelli, Swansea Central, Swansea West, Morriston, Port Talbot, Haverfordwest and Brecon.”

Nigel and Linda Passmore, who are looking after the cat, said: “We initially didn’t think this poor cat was going to make it, but she’s doing brilliantly now and has settled in really well. We’re just happy we were able to help.”

Should you wish to help the RSPCA with its animal welfare work, you can give £3 now by texting LOVE to 87023 (text costs £3 + one standard network rate message). We are a charity and rely on public donations to exist.