A purrfect rescue: Italian coast guard saves cat at sea

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The rescued kitten has been named Charlie.
The rescued kitten has been named Charlie.PHOTO: GUARDIA COSTIERA FACEBOOK PAGE

ROME • A tiny kitten that went for an ill-advised swim in the sea off Sicily has hung on to eight of its nine lives, thanks to a rescue mission by Italy's coast guard.

When a group of children in the port town of Marsala spotted the one-month-old kitten floating in the sea, having apparently breathed its last, a patrolling officer dived in to save it, Reuters reported.

Massaging the kitten's chest and using mouth-to-mouth resuscitation just as they would on a human, officers managed to coax signs of life and eventually a weak meow from the soaking animal.

Video released last Friday showed the crew encouraging the feline, whispering "Breathe, breathe" and "Wake up" before the kitten stirred awake with a few weak "meows", media reports said.

The kitten has since made a full recovery.

Italian coast guard are used to rescues in the Mediterranean, where scores of migrants get lost at sea. The port authorities have been so touched by the kitten, they have decided to adopt it and have named it Charlie.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2016, with the headline 'A purrfect rescue: Italian coast guard saves cat at sea'. Print Edition | Subscribe