NEW YORK (CNN) — Lions may be kings of the jungle, but for nearly two hours, two kittens ruled the concrete jungle as officials halted New York subway service Thursday.
The fearless felines risked all nine lives meandering the subway Thursday, causing part of it to be shut down for 90 minutes as personnel cut the power to begin their search.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority suspended subway service on the B and Q lines between the Kings Highway and DeKalb Avenue stops in Brooklyn — about 6 miles of track — to search for two cats that were reported seen at about 11 a.m., MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said.
MTA had to cut the power to the third rail, which carries 600 volts of electricity.
“If you touch that third rail, you’re not going to make it — people and especially cats, anything that moves,” Ortiz said.
New Yorkers are accustomed to seeing critters, but it’s usually rats and mice scampering around the underground tunnels, leaving the alley cats above ground.
Even though the search was for a couple of friendly felines, some riders were not happy with the inconvenient suspension.
“It’s a waste of money. They could have been doing something else. It’s a waste of money. But that’s the MTA for you,” subway rider and former MTA employee Wilson Burton told CNN affiliate WABC.
The New York Police Department was brought to the scene later in the day for crowd control.
“As the trains backed up, the crowds build up and people are late in their travels. We have to make sure everyone gets to their place safely,” Lt. Paul Ng of the NYPD said.
Though the sneaky cats were at large on the tracks for more than seven hours, they reappeared around 6 p.m. and were corralled and captured within the half hour, MTA spokeswoman Judie Glave said. They were taken to a nearby shelter, police said.
It is MTA protocol for conductors to stop and call in anytime something is on or traveling on the tracks, so it is in the best interest of customers and MTA to clear the track as soon as possible, Glave said.
The pair was found in the same spot where they were first sighted earlier in the day, despite the running trains and the re-electrified deadly third rail.
It was a close call — but, luckily, curiosity didn’t kill these cats.