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PORTSMOUTH — David Kondrup has rescued plenty of raccoons from chimneys. And as owner of New Hampshire Animal Damage Control he's also rescued possums, owls — even a boa constrictor — from the tight spaces, but Tuesday night marked his first cat. The local feline is now missing a little fur but is otherwise safe after a 45-minute rescue effort on the roof of a Union Street building that formerly housed Pro Portsmouth. The unidentified mouser was trapped in a 30-foot chimney at 236 Union St., which had been sealed off from the inside. Fire and police crews were on the roof trying in vain to help it when Kondrup was contacted around 9 p.m. "It is a first for me. Cats are usually pretty smart and don't fall down chimneys," Kondrup said. Police say the property manager had been contacted Monday and was told there was a cat stuck in the building, but he could not locate the animal. By Tuesday, fire crews were able to pinpoint the kitty's location in the one-way shaft. After several failed attempts to retrieve the animal, they turned to the phone book for some help and found Kondrup's company, Police Sgt. Kuffer Kaltenborn said this morning. Kondrup tried a number of ways to get the cat out, including putting a rope around its neck to hoist it up, but sticks and debris that had fallen on top of the cat hindered the attempt. "Cat glue" was utilized in his next attempt. Using a piece of glueboard — typically used to trap mice or to rescue baby raccoons — attached to the end of a telescoping pole, the feline was being lifted up the 30-foot shaft but only made it a couple of feet before its fur pulled away and the cat slipped back to the bottom. All that came up was a sheet full of fur. "The cat just didn't want to stay on the paper. The glue wasn't meant to hold a 10-pound animal," Kondrup said, adding it has been successful in rescuing much smaller animals. After various other attempts, Kondrup went back to his first choice of rescue—the rope — which was ultimately successful. Once out of the chimney the cat was wrapped in a blanket, and while police attempted to evaluate it for injury the cat only wanted to be left alone. "The cat refused medical attention," Kaltenborn wryly noted. Once the rope was removed, the cat leaped about 15 feet up onto the roof of another house, scampered down two stories, and at full gallop vaulted over a parked van and into the dark. As Kondrup wrote out the bill for the owners, who live next door to the old Pro Portsmouth building where the cat was stuck, the unruffled animal was "fresh as a daisy," eating and drinking as if nothing had happened.
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