Rescuers from Catsnip, Etc. in Elkhart, Indiana, responded quickly to a report about a mother cat who had given birth in a storm drain.
But as spectators were saving the cat family, one lonely kitten had another idea in mind: she wanted to embark on an unforgettable trip.
“Employees at a local factory found a stray cat that had been hanging around and had kittens,” Missy McNeal, a foster for Catsnip Etc., told The Dodo. “By the time we got there, the employees had caught the other kittens.”
However, one kitten panicked and jumped into a spout that went straight down 3 feet. Rescuers couldn’t see her but heard her cries.
“The kitten had been down the pipe and crying for almost 24 hours before we were called,” McNeal said. “We knew those 4-week-old babies still needed their mom.”
McNeal concocted a plan to carefully feed a camera through a pipe beneath the cement to help see the kitten’s location. The dedicated team searched for eight hours with no luck.
“None of us wanted to leave the kitten overnight, but it was pitch black out and there was nothing more we could do,” McNeal said. “We put food down the tunnels, hoping some would reach her.”
The crew flushed the pipes to bring the kitten out into the open when they arrived back in the morning, as advised by the sewer company.
It was all we could do with her trapped in a network of subterranean pipes, said McNeal. We required a miracle since none of the pipes were large enough for somebody to climb through.
Luckily, that miracle came. By the road, hidden by grass, the team located a manhole 75 feet from where the kitten vanished.
“Immediately, we saw the water flowing and heard her cries echoing through the pipes,” McNeal said. “And if we could find a small person, they could go in after her. So we put out a [public] plea.”
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Ashley, a volunteer, drove over to help.
“She went into the drainpipe and slowly inched her way along,” McNeal said. “She got so far into the pipe [that] she disappeared into the darkness and we could no longer see her.”
After about 30 minutes, Ashley found the kitten, who’d now been in the pipe for nearly two whole days. But now, she had to crawl backwards out of the drain while holding the scared kitten.
It took an additional 40 minutes, according to McNeal. “We grabbed her feet and dragged her the rest of the way out as soon as we could reach her. The kitten was dehydrated, coated in muck, and extremely chilly.
They took the kitten, now known as Piper, to her mother and siblings after warming her up and administering fluids and food with a syringe.
McNeal said, “She rushed straight to her mom.”
Mom, the baby, and their foster home are now safe from drain pipes and receiving excellent care while waiting to find their permanent homes.
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