Ausgrid crew rescues cat from power pole in Church Street, Cessnock

SAFE AND SOUND: Ausgrid technician Michael Schoonhoven and Sniper the cat after the rescue operation last Thursday.

SAFE AND SOUND: Ausgrid technician Michael Schoonhoven and Sniper the cat after the rescue operation last Thursday.

A meandering moggie named Sniper has an Ausgrid crew to thank for saving one of his nine lives.

The fearless feline was spotted perched in a precarious position metres in the air atop a power pole on Church Street, Cessnock last Thursday (September 24).

The cat got stuck up the pole after being chased up there by a dog.

Ausgrid technicians Chad Jones and Michael Schoonhoven were sent to help get Sniper back down safely and say it caused quite a local stir.

"Neighbours on the street came out to see what was going on and everyone was looking up at the pole," Mr Jones said.

"I've been with Ausgrid for 28 years and this is the first time I've ever been involved in getting cat off a pole so it was definitely an unusual job to respond to."

Working near live powerlines is dangerous, so the power was turned off briefly to allow the delicate rescue to be done safely.

"When we arrived, Sniper was sitting between two of the powerlines in a space just barely big enough for him to sit, with his fur brushing the wires," Mr Schoonhoven said.

"Thankfully the fur stopped him coming in contact with the live wires, which would have definitely ended in tragedy."

The Ausgrid crew used an elevated work platform to get close enough to try and coax Sniper down.

"I was concerned he may get scared and try to run or jump, but he put his paws out towards me as if to say 'grab me now' and almost jumped into my arms as everyone clapped and cheered below," Mr Schoonhoven said.

"Going up I was expecting to get some claws in the face but instead I got a cuddle and some purring, the cat was very happy."

After a purrfect rescue operation, Sniper was handed back to some very relieved owners who had been watching on.

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