ANGLESEY, Wales – Call it a case of puss 'n hoots.
Welsh rescuers worked feverishly to free a pregnant cat trapped in a recycling bin, even dropping food to the meowing animal during its 12-hour ordeal, only to discover when they finally opened the receptacle that all that noise was actually coming from a stuffed squeaky toy.
"The lads were in stitches, it was such a laugh," said Kelvin Owen, owner of the engineering firm that finally managed to open the bin.
But the rescue operation earlier this week in Anglesey, north Wales, began on a much more serious note, The Daily Post newspaper reported.
The alarm was first raised when a woman heard a meowing sound coming from a clothes recycling bin. Given that a heavily pregnant cat named Puss-Puss was missing, the identity of the meower seemed obvious.
Locals raced to free the animal but the locks on the bin had been tampered with and even the best efforts of residents, the fire department and animal protection officers were to no avail.
So the would-be rescuers dropped food into the bin and transported it 18 miles (29km) to Owen's engineering firm, The Post said.
There, engineers eventually cut their way into the bin with a steel saw.
"Once we got into the bin we heard the meow again, it sounded just like a cat and we all started to carefully search the bags," Owen told The Post.
"Then I found a bag of toys and picked out a toy cat, I said 'it couldn't be this could it', it wasn't making any noise and I asked if I could cut it open to investigate.
"As I held it, it went off, meow, meow, mystery solved!"
However, the paper reported, Puss-Puss is still missing.