The presence of pets in a workplace has a calming effect on numerous workers, especially to those who constantly face very stressful situations. So just imagine how many hearts were broken at the San Francisco Fire Department Station 49 after their feline mascot, Edna, was forced to leave them.
The Humble Beginnings of a Fire Station Cat
Edna was a feral kitten when she suddenly turned up at the San Francisco Fire Department Station 49 four years ago. Nobody knew where she came from or how she got there, but they observed that she always dropped by at the station. Irene Ybarra, the paramedic in charge of EMS logistics in the station, and another staffer began to keep feeding her.
Later on, they fell for the kitten’s charm and decided to take her in and become a part of the crew of firefighters. Like any other feral cat, Edna was skittish around humans. But her new companions gave her freedom to roam around the station, which easily eased her wariness around them. In no time, Edna became the crew’s cherished pet.
The orange and black tortoiseshell kitty did not waste proving her abilities and started to take care of the rat infestation of the station. But more importantly, Edna became a soothing companion to her crew of fighters who had to deal with several stressful dangers in the city.
Everything was going along well for Edna and the whole crew until they received an anonymous complaint about the cat’s presence in the station on a Saturday in February. It also stated that they have only until Monday to ‘get rid’ of the cat or else animal control will be called.
The main concern of the complaint was the dubious cleanliness of the medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, and equipment because Edna lives in the station. It turns out keeping pets inside the fire station was not allowed for two decades since they pose a sanitation issue.
On the other hand, Ybarra stated that she enhanced the medical supply in Station 49 in such a way that their cat cannot sneak into the clean room. ‘The items are usually boxed up, and it’s not something [Edna] is usually in the habit of getting on top of. She had her own specific spot, a box with blanket in it. Edna has never been an issue,’ she added.
Outpour of Heart-Warming Support
The crew decided to seek help in social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They posted photos of them cuddling and petting the cat in their Instagram account and also created the hashtag #ednastays. It was used to encourage the public to reach out to the department leaders and urge them to give consent in allowing Edna to stay.
Their posts received lots of attention and support from various people online and many of them shared their two cents about the issue. Most supporters stressed the huge help that animal companions give to workers by simply calming them with their presence.
Other fire cats from different stations such as Maryland and Station 57 showed their support too. It proves that they may simply be cats but they melt away the problems of their human companions and became an important part in their lives.
Time to Say Goodbye
Although every people who loved and supported Edna did their best, the cat still had to leave her crew and home when Monday arrived. She is currently living with a member of the San Francisco Fire Department. However, it is still unclear whether the Fire Commission would allow Edna to return back to her home, Station 49.
Edna has made a huge impact on the lives of the firefighters as they did to her. She will be greatly missed by her loving crew and family. A post on Instagram reads: ‘She has somewhere to go now but it just sucks to uproot a once feral cat from her home of five years, and one that she could come and go as she pleased, but chose to stay with unlimited 24/7 loving from 200+ amazing EMS members.’
Above All Else, She Was Family
Edna was known as the fire cat or fire station’s mascot, but more than that she was a part of the family. Although it was only for a short time, she was there to give comfort and cuddles to the crew every time they faced the worst things in their jobs, and they were thankful to have her in their lives.
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