MISSOULA, Mont. – If cats have nine lives, a kitty here has definitely used one up.
The house cat survived being locked in a cage, thrown off a bridge and then stranded in an icy puddle of river slush.
The ordeal ended Tuesday morning when a pair of passers-by spotted the calico cat while crossing a footbridge and called for help.
Missoula firefighters arrived minutes later, donned wet suits and launched a rescue boat.
Someone had put the animal in a cage, along with a rock weighing about 16 pounds, and tossed it into the Clark Fork River. But instead of landing in the water, it bounced several times on the ice and then became stuck.
It's unclear how long the cat had been there.
Firefighters took it back to the fire station, dried it off and fed it leftover Christmas turkey and a dish of milk.
"It was really skinny, nothing but skin and bones, and had collar marks where a too-small collar had rubbed the fur off its neck. But it was really friendly," firefighter Philip Keating said.
Firefighter Josh Macrow decided to keep the cat. After his shift, he took it to a vet and then home to his 12-year-old daughter.
"It's the sweetest cat," Macrow said. "It sits on your shoulder when you drive down the road and it curled up with my black Labs this morning."
Naming the animal was easy, he said.
"We call her Lucky."