Cat that escaped after fall into vat of chemicals in Japan prompts health warning


A cat that made a daring escape after falling into a vat of hazardous chemicals at a factory in Japan over the weekend has prompted city officials to issue a public health warning.

What happened: The incident occurred at the Nomura Mekki Fukuyama factory in Fukuyama, a city in Hiroshima Prefecture, on Monday. An employee who arrived for work that day promptly reported the incident after noticing footprints on the pavement left by the feline.

Their investigation: CCTV footage from Sunday night shows the cat escaping the factory. Following the footprints it left behind, employees discovered that the feline had fallen into a vat of hexavalent chromium, a carcinogenic substance that can cause rashes and inflammation if touched or inhaled. Akihiro Kobayashi, the factory’s manager, noted the sheet covering the vat was partially torn when the employee inspected it.

The aftermath: Fukuyama City officials immediately sent out a health warning to its residents, advising them not to go near or touch “a cat that seems abnormal.” The company has also reportedly been on the lookout for the cat since the incident and had not made any sightings of the feline as of Tuesday.

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“The incident woke us up to the need to take measures to prevent small animals like cats from sneaking in, which is something we had never anticipated before,” a company spokesperson told AFP.

The cat’s condition: While it remains unclear what the cat’s condition is after falling into the vat of hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium 6, experts believe that the feline may not survive long.

“Even if the fur would protect the skin from immediately getting large burns, cats clean their fur by licking it, moving the corrosive solution into the mouth,” Linda Schenk, a researcher who specializes in chemical risk assessment at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, told CNN.

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