Upon arrival to the location, Clare could hear the cat calling but couldn’t see any sign of the cat in the drain. Some teenagers who had also heard the cat crying had tried to coax it out with some food and by opening the drains but unfortunately had no success.
As this was a technical rescue in a confined space, Clare contacted Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) and Rockhampton Regional Council to assist with accessing the drain. After an extensive search of the stormwater system, rescuers opened a manhole in the middle of the road and located the cat on a ledge approx. 12ft down in the deep drain with water running underneath.
After some brainstorming to figure out how to get the cat out safely, rescuers tied rope to a cage with some food inside to lure it in and lowered to the ledge the cat was on. The cat was very quick to go into the cage and eat the food inside but before they could lift the cage up, the cat backed out so they had to come up with a “plan B”.
They then tied a rope to a cat trap with food inside and lowered it down, the idea was that the cat would walk in, eat the food and set the trap off so the door would close behind the cat to be safely contained to be brought up. Unfortunately, the cat kept setting off the trap by putting its paw through cage to grab the food so they lowered a net down to guide the cat into the trap.
In our line of work, sometimes things don’t go to plan, this was one of those instances, rather than allowing the net to guide him into the trap, the cat climbed into the net. Rescuers quickly changed their plan of attack and managed to bring the net up with the cat inside using the trap beneath the net to prevent the cat from falling out.
Once out of the drain and in the arms of his rescuers, he was taken to Alma street vet for emergency treatment as he was extremely underweight and dehydrated. Thankfully this poor cat had a microchip and we found out that “Phat” was 7 years old and after contacting his owner discovered he had been missing for a month!
We don’t know how he ended up down that drain or where he had been since he had gone missing but he is certainly one very lucky cat!
Clare would like send out a huge thank you to the QFES and Rockhampton Regional Council teams that assisted us with this rescue (particularly the council officer that gave up some of his corn meat sandwich to entice the cat!).
It was a huge team effort and Phat is very thankful to be home with his owners.