My wife and I were taking a leisurely stroll down town Tuesday afternoon, enjoying the clearing weather and putting miles on her new knee. We were on the home stretch passing in front of the abandoned building on main street where the transmission shop used to be when we heard it…….MEOOOOOW. And then a second time MEOOOOW.
I turned to my wife and said “That cat sounds like its in trouble.”
The Aveleigh Presbyterian Church bus is parked in one of the bays of this building, so my first thought was maybe the cat got inside the bus and couldn’t get out. We went inside the building and looked around. There was no cat to be seen through the windows of the bus, and there was just no place for a cat to hide inside the building. Where’s the cat?
Then while we were looking around we heard it again…..MEOOOOOOOOOOW. Not very strong, but plainly a cat in distress. It sounded like it was coming from the bus, but there was no place there for a cat to hide. A closer look around revealed two circular holes in the concrete floor. They were the holes where the rams for the hydraulic lifts were when the building was a transmission shop. One hole was just beside the bus and had cobwebs covering it, but the other one was under the bus. It was a pipe about 6 inches in diameter, and when I tried to determine how deep it was I dropped the small stick I was using as a gauge down the pipe, and finally heard it hit bottom…..deep.
The cat, of course would not meow all the time, so we decided to go home and get a flashlight and see if the cat was in fact in the hole.
When we returned the cat allowed us a couple more weak meows, and then quiet. I crawled under the bus with the flashlight and looked down into the pipe. Way down into the pipe. I could see the stick I had dropped, but could not see a cat, but I could hear it breathing when I put my ear down to the opening. Finally, while I was close by I got what I wanted…MEOOOOOW. Yep, the cats down the pipe. Now what?
A call to the police dispatcher produced one of Newberry’s finest. The police officer certainly could not do anything more for the cat than we could, so he called for the fire department.
Meanwhile I made a few telephone calls and obtained a key for the van parked over the hole containing one cat in distress.
When I arrived with the key, in addition to the police car, there was now one large red fire truck parked in front of the building.
With the church bus moved close observation showed a small cat at the bottom of an 8 foot pipe. Now what?
Nothing on the firetruck was going to help, and animal control though on the way to the scene, assured us they really had nothing that was going to extract a cat from a pipe that deep.
Before animal control arrived on scene, we had figured out how to remove the plate surrounding the pipe, and had the pipe pulled out of the floor about 3 feet and secured. That really did not help much for now the top of the pipe was three feet above the floor, and the cat was three feet closer to the floor level, but was still at the bottom of the pipe and still 8 feet from the top end of the pipe. There was some concern that there was no bottom on the pipe, and pulling it out would do no good, but fortunately there was a cap on the end of the pipe, so when we pulled the pipe up the cat was not going to fall out and remain at the bottom of the hole.
The firemen made a few telephone calls which produced a Kibler Towing Company wrecker and Mr. Livingston of Livingston’s BP station across the street to offer some expert advice on how these lifts are assembled. With the wrecker, they were able to lift the pipe out of the floor and lay it on its side.
After a bit of coaxing, the cat came about half way out of the pipe, but was not about to come any further. At that point the animal control officer was able to put his rope loop into the pipe and pull the cat out.
What a pathetic sight. One small mostly black cat soaking wet with a mixture of water and oil, shivering like it was freezing cold. There was still fight in it though. While the animal control officer held it up it hissed and glared at all those strange people admiring it, and made it perfectly clear that it had every intention of defending itself if necessary.
From its pipe tomb, the cat was transferred to a cage in the animal control truck, and whisked away to the shelter where we had been promised it would be bathed, dried, and fed that night.
You ask, why would this old man write such a story?
Well, for one to thank the police officers, firemen, animal control officer and everyone else who cared enough to to come out after hours to rescue a cat that probably would not have been alive the next morning.
And second, to alert the community that there is one tough little cat that came within an inch of using up its ninth life tonight residing at the Newberry County Animal Shelter. Any cat that displayed as much spunk as this one did after going through what it did surely has a kinder gentler side hidden somewhere, and needs only a bit of love to bring it out. It would be a terrible waste after surviving all this for no one to adopt such a worthy animal.
It’s a choice opportunity folks. This one is worthy of someone’s love.
Thanks again to all who helped pull this one out of the pipe.
William R. Ehney