AMES, Iowa —Ames firefighters resuscitated a cat after pulling it from a burning home.
The cat's owner tried to run in after the cat when his Ames home caught fire but was overcome with smoke.
Firefighters had to run inside the burning home twice before finding Cleo in the basement. The cat was unresponsive and surrounded by thick, black smoke.
Cleo appeared lifeless as firefighters rushed to help her breathe, using a specialized oxygen mask for animals.
“I was just like, ‘Come on, Cleo. We don't want to lose you,’” said Annie Fangman, Cleo’s owner.
Cleo started breathing on her own after 30 minutes.
"As time went on, (Cleo) started to slowly come to, started meowing, started to breathe on its own (and) started to move around on its own,” Ames Fire Department Lt. Jordan Damhof said. “So all positive indications that things were working well."
Thankfully, firefighters rarely have to use any of the nine animal oxygen masks that were donated to their department nearly a decade ago.
The masks come in small, medium and large sizes for different sized animals.
Damhof said he believes his coworkers' actions are the reason Cleo was rushed to the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine still alive.
“She couldn't stand or walk (and) wasn't really aware of what was going on,” said April Blong, of the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine.
Cleo was still on oxygen in the intensive care unit Wednesday, but is said to be improving every day.
"I'm really thankful,” Fangman said. “I can't even put it into words really, what they did for us and saved our cat.
Veterinarians are hoping Cleo will be well enough to go home in a few days.
"Their pets become part of their family, and so it's one of the most satisfying parts of our job is when we can go to a scene and try to make the scene better,” Damhof said.
The Ames Fire Department shared a touching moment on Facebook, showing the moment rescuers revived a cat.