The animal ambulance in The Hague received a report last week of a lot of cat whining near the water in the Wateringse Veld district. The tomcat had no place to go except into the water. Fortunately, the creative ambulance driver came up with another solution.

The caller who called the animal ambulance had been hearing cats howling from under a deck for three days in the Wateringse Veld district of The Hague.


Driver Martin and driver in training Wendy went to it. When they arrived, they heard a cat screaming and roaring from afar. One look under the decking was enough: on a narrow beam under the decking was a tabby cat that had no place to go. How did it get there?

Photo Animal Ambulance

Martin called for backup. There’s a good chance they wouldn’t reach the cat without getting a wet suit. Driver Janneke heard the story and set off, armed with a waders (a kind of ‘wellington boots’). On location, they discussed their options and looked around for a while. And voilà, at the neighbors’ house a few houses away, there was a surfboard in the garden. Sometimes you need a little creativity… The resident was happy at home and the lady was very helpful. Yes, of course we were allowed to borrow the surfboard to free the cat!


First Janneke, lying on her stomach, sent the surfboard under the deck so the cat would jump on it. But no, the cat refused and howled even harder. The water was way too scary! Then plan B. Janneke put on the waders and tied a rope around her waist, just to be sure. You never know how solid the bottom is under water! After a check of the depth, Janneke lowered herself. She pushed the surfboard under the decking again and walked along, crouching. The frightened red tom was still screaming.

With words of encouragement Janneke helped him with gentle force from the beam to the surfboard. Despite the panic, he seemed to understand that he was being helped. Slowly and soothingly, Janneke again came out from under the deck with the surfing red tom. In one smooth movement she put the cat in a transport basket.

So it was safe! Then they could read the chip in the ambulance. Fortunately, despite the chip being broken, it could still be read. It turned out that the tomcat belongs at the petting zoo. Just to be sure, the cat has been re-chipped, which can be done in the animal ambulance. All’s well that ends well!

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