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SPCA hero risks life to rescue stray cat

Sphelele Manyathi crawled through a chimney to rescue a stray cat, without a thought to his own safety.

10 September 2013 | Reveshni Moodley

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Super heroes of society today are usually known for their shiny capes, awe-inspiring outfits and incredible superpowers and good looks.

Rarely however, do we put much faith in our ordinary, everyday heroes; those who work quietly behind the scenes and ask for little more than a 'thank you' or smile of acknowledgement.

This week, one such dedicated 'superhero' risked his life for a stray cat, which was reported to the Newcastle SPCA.

"A call came in that a cat was stuck in the chimney of a house in Percy Riley Avenue in Pioneer Park," explained SPCA Inspector, Elize van Rooyen.

"When we went out there, we discovered that the fireplace had been boarded up and the only way to get to the cat, which was stuck at the bottom, would be from the chimney entrance on the roof of the house."

Ms van Rooyen said the cat was reported as a stray.

"The owner of the house suspected the cat was a stray, because it did not belong to him. Our employee, Sphelele Manyathi, managed to procure a ladder and went up on the roof to rescue the cat."

She added that it was suspected the cat had been trapped in the chimney for days prior to its rescue.

"The smell was horrific and the cat was yowling with hunger and fear. The chimney itself was overgrown with grass and plants and dirt."

Mr Manyathi, a 29-year-old oSizweni resident, has been working for the SPCA since last year.

"I went down the chimney to rescue the cat because I felt so sorry for it," he explained.

Mr Manyathi crawled down the cramped, dirty and dark chimney to rescue the cat with no thought of the danger to his own life.

"The smell was terrible down there and it was such a tiny space. But I knew I had no option.The cat was scared and hungry and kept trying to scratch me."

Although he has no pets of his own, he said he has always felt an affinity with animals and working with the SPCA had been a long-time dream come true.

"Sphelele is truly an SPCA 'superhero'," concluded Ms van Rooyen.

The little cat is now being spoiled by Mr Manyathi at the SPCA on Samson Avenue, and will soon be up for adoption.

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