It is said that it is bad luck to have a black cat cross your path. For two policemen who tried to save a feisty feline from a Melbourne freeway on Wednesday morning, the adage proved painfully true.
The officers were badly bitten and scratched by the "savage" cat as they tried to rescue it from the West Gate Freeway on-ramp at Kings Way. It is, after all, 2013 – perhaps the most foreboding year, since, well, 1913.
The pair, from St Kilda Road police station, had to be taken to the Epworth Hospital for treatment.
The officers blocked one lane of the road after being called about the cat about 6.50am. With the help of CityLink staff, the feline was captured and put in a cardboard box.
Unlike its rescuers, it was unharmed and will be taken to an animal shelter, a police spokeswoman said.
"It's just a very savage and very frightened cat," she said.
The spokeswoman said the officers received puncture wounds to their hands, wrists and fingers, and an ambulance had been called, but was not needed.
A VicRoads spokesman said it was the only incident involving the West Gate Freeway on Wednesday, with the disastrous traffic jams of last week appearing to have been averted by the opening of another lane on the West Gate Bridge.
The resurfacing works last week prompted metropolitan-wide traffic jams and newspaper headlines of "Carmaggedon" as lanes were closed for the works.
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