The cat, its teeth bared, was in a jam.
The striped tabby somehow got its head stuck in a latticework skirt under a shed in a Ronkonkoma yard Thursday morning, but two Suffolk police officers on their knees and tummies freed it with a 10-minute clip job.
"He was probably looking for something to eat, like a mouse or a rat," said Officer Billy Judge of the emergency service unit.
"He had big fangs. When we kept coming closer, he was hissing."
Judge said he and partner Danny Coan were told by the homeowner that the feline had been jammed there for hours. The cat looked scared, the officer said, and, using a pair of clippers, Coan cut the plastic latticework screen bit by bit.
"I just kind of put my hand over its eyes so my partner could cut, to shield its eyes and to keep it from biting my partner," the officer said.
It wasn't clear if the cat belonged to someone, but it didn't hang around to say thanks.
"He just pulled his head out and took off," Judge said.
The cat dashed into the depths of the shed's underside, and the home's resident put out a can of tuna nearby, the officer said.
This was the first cat-in-a-hole rescue for Judge. But another animal rescue went viral for the two partners and fellow officer Walter Justincic in 2012 when they saved a baby deer that had fallen into a big hole at a Mount Sinai construction site and fashioned a harness to lift it to freedom.
After freeing the stuck cat, the two officers didn't stay to see where it went, but had to rush off to another call.
Said Judge, "We help people, too."