How far would you go to save your cat?

Buttons a cat who fell down a well

Buttons a cat who fell down a well

How far would you go to save your cat? This is about a man who fell down a 40-50 foot well trying to rescue his sister’s cat. I wanted to share this story with the readers here because it shows just how devoted people in my area are to their cats. This happened on January 29 in upstate South Carolina, USA, about an hour from my home.

Joey Dover, an animal lover, gave his sister a female, grey and white cat eight years ago, whom the sister named Buttons. On Wednesday, Joey attempted to climb down a well at his sister’s home in Gaffney shortly before 8 p.m. to rescue Buttons. The well was underneath the house (the bathroom in fact). Buttons, had been missing for several days, and from what I gathered Joey was under the house trying to get to the cat when things went wrong.

Joey, a cat lover who tried to rescue Buttons

Joey, a cat lover who tried to rescue Buttons

I’ve heard conflicting reports on whether Buttons was ever in the well. One news station reported he was and another said the cat wasn’t in the well. I lean toward believing Buttons had fallen in, and Joey heard meowing and decided to attempt a rescue.

Apparently, Joey had lowered himself into the well by tying a rope around the bumper of his truck. As mentioned, things didn’t go as planned, and Joey ended up falling fully down the well, all 50 feet of it.

“The cat was missing for seven days then my daughter could hear him hollering underneath the house and we knew there was a well under there,” Barbara Dover, Joey’s mom.

The Gaffney Fire Department, EMS and other volunteers had to rescue Joey from the well.  Two men went down to rescue him. He spent two hours down the well, and was rescued around 10 p.m..

Joey fell down this well under the house

Joey fell down this well under the house

Keep in mind the outdoor temperature was around 20 F. degrees. One day earlier Spartanburg County experienced the worst ice storm in perhaps 30 years. Yet Joey was determined to save Buttons.

Under this house was the well that Buttons fell down

Under this house was the well that Buttons fell down

Joey was rescued and taken to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center and was released after the doctor’s decided he’d suffered no serious injuries. Joey’s mother told the local news media her son is “sore and resting.” This isn’t the first time one of their cats has ended up down a well.

The family reported several years ago a cat fell into the well. The cat was rescued by lowering down a bucket with food. That cat climbed in the bucket and was rescued. Our cat “Spot” spent two days down a well back in the 1980’s. He’d gone missing for two days and we finally heard him meowing from down the neighbors well. Another neighbor got a ladder and climbed down to rescue him.

Spot had an immediate vet visit, since he’d been standing in several inches of water. He had pneumonia and was put on medication. I hope Buttons had a vet visit to make sure there were no serious issues to deal with.

Joey, in my eyes you’re a hero. Even if things didn’t go quite the way you planned. Readers, would you risk your life to save a cat? Have you ever done anything totally off-the-wall for the sake of your feline companion? Please leave a comment.


Sources: (a) (b)

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How far would you go to save your cat? — 83 Comments

    • You know Ruth, I remember your article about saving that cat. I am sure I would try and save Buttons if I was in Joey’s situation but…I am not sure I’d go down that well. I’d probably look for some help, somewhere. Joey was very brave and committed to do what he did.

  1. Yuppers! No doubt in my mind …. I would be down the well.
    Fortunately, we don’t have many wells here.
    But, I have been up in trees, on roofs, and dodging traffic. Nothing as heroic as what Joey did.

    • Ruth Katta could make a clever poster of you up a tree, on the roof, and stopping traffic.

      I went up a tree once for a cat named Ketzel. She didn’t need me too, but I felt compelled. I’ve chased coyotes, raccoons and skunks away from the cats. I am fearless when there is a cause.

      • Chasing coyotes is brave indeed. So happy I never had to do that. But, those coons are so on my nerves; they’re relentless and never satiated.
        I’ve never encountered a skunk either, but have seen 2 civet cats over the years.

      • I think I can take a picture of Ruth kneeling and put a tree from my Daisy Trail software under her. Ruth would you like a bird or butterfly on your shoulder 🙂

      • Funny about stopping traffic. I, actually, did that one time on my side of Interstate 75 to help a turtle, stepping off the median into traffic, cross the road. People were very kind about it.

          • Yes, the poor armadillos are creamed all the time on roads here. They’re very sweet natured, very fearful, and very slow.
            They’re pretty solitary, but I did see a family one time.

            • And they stink! in the Springtime while everything else is smelling pretty. 😉 Bless’em – I love watching them come through the edge of the Mark Twain Forest on my Great Aunt Anna’s country property down in Arkansas. Their gleaming topsides weave a lovely gossamer fabric with the golden sandstone and copper across the hillside. (I’ve never seen one get hit on the road, thank goodness.)

              • LOL! I never notice a foul odor, Caroline. Maybe my sense of smell is desensitized after all of these years with cats.
                But, in actuality, we stink to most animals.

              • Dee…I said it was Springtime! [what happens in..oh. you got it. I’m slow. 😉
                of course we do, but I don’t think that many of us are out there trying to ‘hump’ multiple beautiful homo sapiens out in the hills. 😉 And this is what Armadillos do in the backyard where my Great Aunt resides. I love’em, but it isn’t as much fun as the black mama bears with their cubs who decide to nuzzle on the glass door on the sunporch where I’m trying to sleep at eleven in the evening.

    • An 11 year old fell in one a few days before this. He was trespassing on property and the well was boarded over. So what did he do? He jumped on the board until it broke. He broke his arm but the owner didn’t press charges.

  2. Thank you for enhancing this article Michael. I’ll be a lot of readers don’t realize we team up on some of these.

    When I wrote this a lot of info here wasn’t available. The news didn’t release any names the first night. Only that he’d fallen and was rescued.

    The cat was in the well and he saved it’s little life. I love men who care enough to do something like this.

  3. Elisa, thank you so much for this article.
    I am, always, up for a hero story.
    It renews my faith in mankind.
    I can never get enough of your writings.

  4. I love the idea of the bucket and rope. That showed brains. I was just about to ask if it turned out that Buttons was in the well and if he got saved when Joey did. Good thing Joey didn’t fall on Buttons! (Not that I care about Buttons much more than the nice man trying to save him, just that it would have kinda defeated the purpose).

    • A cat fell down into a storm drain at work once and was about 8 feet deep. I took a long wide strip of wood and angled it in the hole so the cat could get close enough to the top to jump out. Southerners are inventive 🙂

      • I fell down a drain once at the first vets I worked for, we used to cook meat for the dogs as it was boarding kennels too and strain the juices down the drain. Someone left the lid off! You can imagine how I stank when I dragged myself out covered in congealed fat lol

          • AND when I caught the pesky peke I was chasing to take over the office to return to Mrs Double Barrelled Surname who had some to collect him, he bit me AND she looked down her posh nose and said ‘Oh girl, you DO smell’

    • Now that’s a thought. Joey could have fallen onto Buttons. It was a high risk rescue. I don’t think the house owner knew their was a well under her bathroom! I think it needs to be covered…

  5. OK that link for Facebook may not work. Just type in Elisa Black-Taylor, Writer and Photographer and it should come up on Facebook 🙂

  6. Joey, we love you. Our pets are family- and that love transcends all. I myself have done dangerous, even maybe illegal things to rescue animals I have come across in need, since.. if we turn the other way, what good is the life we were given if not to help them live the ones they were given? Hooah Joey, and big hugs to you and Buttons.. and all animals that cross your path in what will hopefully be the rest of your very long and happy life!

  7. You know what I just discovered? [as the Stinky Little Kitten Who Has Not Yet Been NEUTERED] lays against my chest…] No? So I will let you in on my little secret, and it WON’T cost you a cent…

    Cats(kittens) *like* lying against your breast! You can move, re-situate, cough, zneeze, and little dear will stay there, because, simply put, he/she wants to know that you are ALIVE! and protecting her/him. I love that about my cats. They just want to get as close as they can, when they know their eyes are about to close and it’s dark outside.
    Comments, please. 🙂 ?

    • So true. Marvin wants to keep track of where you are at all times. Lap, lying on the chest, across the legs….then he can rest knowing you are there. But in his case, I think he assumes HE is the protector.

      • DW, how do you get out of a situation where you are compromised? I mean, with your cat? When he is putting all of his weight on you, relaxed. Do you have guilt, which in turn, causes you to bond een more closely with him? And then, evetually, you do not *dare* move from the position, because you are afraid of making it worse, where he doesn’t trust you as much as he did?

        • Nah…I did that in the beginning, but I wanted him to know this is his home. It has taken him a long time to get used to ‘in the house’ sounds. I’d like him to get comfy enough that he will nap inside without thinking he has to participate in every little thing that is going on. For a wild cat, he is doing great. Today he napped while I painted. I was very quiet. He snored!

          When he is on my lap or chest, I cannot be there as long as he can, so I get up when we have had ample time to bond. He is fine with it. But yes, it took me a while to get there. We are doing well, given this is his first home ever.

          I am not worried about trust issues. He trusts me. I don’t trust the out of doors as much as he does. It will be a compromise our whole life together. And that is okay. He knows how to survive t there. I just have to learn to trust that a little more. But we are doing well. I actually love his life of a wild boy. And, I love how he turns into a love bug when he is home.

  8. Right come on everyone, who else wants to feature in the PoC Protectors of Cats poster? Share your brave (or crazy) deeds lol
    So far I have:
    Dee up a trees, on a roof and stopping traffic for a turtle.
    Dorothy chasing coyotes, racoons and skunks away from her cats.
    Babz on a pub roof TNR feral kittens.
    Me down a well.

  9. LOL you are a crazy bunch of cat protectors, almost as crazy as the poor bloke who fell down the well, (ding dong dell pussy and Joey in the well)so glad he and Buttons lived to tell the tale, he is the sort of man I could swoon over. I’m looking forward to Ruth’s poster of the derring-do of all the POCers and most impressed by the bravery. Elisa your pic is a good one except the vino, Ruth looks like a lush LOL whereas in fact she never touches a drop of wine as she doesn’t like it.

  10. I stick with Mr. Boston Rock n Rye. Whiskey with lemon straight no chaser. Works better for a cough for me because commercial cough syrups run my blood pressure up with the dangerous chemicals.

  11. I would go as far as possible, as our cats mean alot to us esp if something horrible was happening. They our babies, no money would be any worry.

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