Cat Helps Save Man From Jumping Off Building

All it took was the man's precious feline’s presence to stop the possible suicide attempt.

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Officer Shawn Fulgado holds the cat that helped officers bring a suicidal man down to safety. Via San Francisco Police Department/SFGate

San Francisco police dealing with a man threatening to jump from a downtown building Wednesday found a unique way to negotiate him down — by bringing in his cat.

The man ran into the building in the city’s South of Market neighborhood after he had been stopped by California Highway Patrol for driving a Toyota Highlander sans license plates, SFGate reported. Barefoot and only wearing black shorts, the suspected car thief was found distraught and hanging out of a third-floor window, threatening to leap.

Police department hostage negotiators called in family in the hopes of defusing the situation, but it was what they brought with them that did the trick. SFPD brought the man’s orange-and-white feline out to the fire escape near the window he was hanging out of, and shortly thereafter, the man surrendered without incident.

“Using the cat was ingenious,” Police spokesman Albie Esparza told San Francisco Chronicle’s online site. “Never underestimate the power of the love between people and their pets. I think it was great to think outside the box like the officers did. It made enough of an impact on this person to bring him down and come to his senses.”

Esparza added that he believed this method of motivation was a first for the department, but it worked. And although the man was arrested, he was able to spend a few minutes with his beloved kitty before going to jail.

“The guy wasn’t resisting,” Esparza said. “Obviously, he had a very emotional attachment to the cat, and it was nice to comfort him as much as possible.”

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