Sometimes animals get stuck in some pretty difficult places, and it takes some kind and hard-working people to help get them free.
That was the case recently, after one group of rescuers saved a kitten who was stuck in a drainpipe for 40 hours, and helped her reunite with her mom.
Factory workers in Elkhart County, Indiana reportedly found a family of feral cats. But as they were trying to rescue the mama cat and her kittens, one of the little ones got scared and ran off.
The kitten jumped into a gutter and ended up getting trapped in a drain pipe three feet down. “The gutter guard was broken. The plastic gutter pipe went three feet down and then angled out to a manhole pipe,” Missy McNeal of Catsnip Etc told Love Meow.
“The little kitten slid down to the bottom and it was too slippery to climb all the way back up.”
With the factory workers unable to retrieve the kitten, Catsnip Etc., a local cat rescue group, was called to help. “The kitten had been down the pipe and crying for almost 24 hours before we were called,” McNeal told The Dodo. “We knew those 4-week-old babies still needed their mom.”
However, the rescue proved difficult. They searched for eight hours, trying to lure the cat out with food, but had no luck. The rescue team didn’t know where in the pipes the cat was hiding, and couldn’t find her with a camera.
“None of the pipes were big enough for anyone to crawl through and we needed a miracle,” McNeal said.
Sadly, they had to leave the cat overnight, but returned the next day with even more people determined to get the job done.
McNeal told Love Meow that they came up with a plan to run water down the pipe so they could follow the water path to the kitten’s location. Amazingly, it worked, saving them a lot of time and effort.
“It was nowhere close to where she fell and we could have never located it,” McNeal said.
But now, the tricky part was actually going in and retrieving the cat — which would take a slender person crawl through the pipes.
The rescue put out an appeal online, and thankfully soon found a volunteer named Ashley who was up for the job.
“She went into the drainpipe and slowly inched her way along,” McNeal told The Dodo. “She got so far into the pipe [that] she disappeared into the darkness and we could no longer see her.”
It took a half hour, but Ashley was able to find the kitten, and crawled back out of the pipe with the cat in hand: “The kitten was covered in mud, freezing cold and dehydrated.”
Catsnip Etc. took the kitten in. After 40 hours trapped in the sewer, she needed plenty of care.
“She came straight home after being rescued, got dried off, warmed up with a heating pad,” the rescue wrote, sharing a photo of the kitten wrapped up in a cozy blanket.
A day later they announced that the “drain baby” was “much perkier” and grew up to 11 ounces. “What a little fighter!” they wrote.
But best of all, the kitten was soon reunited with her family. “She ran right to her mom all excited!”
“They are working on being socialized and getting lots of love,” McNeal told Love Meow of the feral cat family.
Despite all the challenges, this group of rescuers came through and saved this kitten’s life.
“It’s not very often in rescue you get a win. Today was a huge one!!” they wrote on Facebook. “I spent the afternoon feeling so grateful and in awe of all the people willing to help when we put out the plea. Thank you to each and every one of you for helping to save this little life!”