North Bay Police are reminding the public to think before you act — even if you're trying to help a cat.

Police say a cat was recently seen in a store window with a can on its head on Main Street East. Someone broke the window and tried to free the cat from the can.

Officers say the damage to the property could have been avoided if the police were called first.

"In this case, there would have been time to phone the police," says Staff Sgt. Rick Dubeau.

"We could have attended, and then we would have been able to get access to the owner of the property. They could have gotten into the building and relieved the stress that the animal would have been under."

Dubeau says police know who broke the window, but no charges are pending. 

He says the person who broke in thought the best way to deal with the situation was to break the window and free the cat.

"The intent wasn't to do a criminal activity. The intent, in their mind, was to save the cat," says Dubeau.

The cat, who lives in the store, is safe and back with its owner.

with files from Martha Dillman