(WMC-TV) – The tiny kitten now known to the city of Memphis as 'Pipe Kitty' is freed after a rescue effort that took more than 15 hours.
The city, plumbers, and humane society tried numerous rescue attempts to free the kitten whose cries could be heard by everyone nearby. But in the end, it was a man from Greenway Home Services who rescued the scared kitten. Fred Simmons vowed he would not leave the scene until the kitten was safe.
Neighbors said they could hear Pipe Kitty's cries underground for days before the rescue began.
Memphis Public Works sent a camera into the pipe on Waring Road Friday afternoon so they could see where the kitten was located.
She was stuck in a pipe that runs as far as eight feet into the ground. The pipe goes eight feet vertically and then curves to go horizontally, crisscrossing under the street.
The city spent the afternoon discussing and attempting different rescue tactics.
The rescue effort started with basic string. The city brought backhoes and loads of men. Still, they were not able to access Pipe Kitty, who was crisscrossing the labyrinth below.
Initially, the city was concerned that attempts to reach the kitten could scare it away. They also were worried that digging up the pipe could cause it to collapse, killing it.
When the plumbers arrived, the effort turned serious much to the relief of neighbors who have been hearing the kitten's scared cries for days.
Social media exploded with concern about the kitten. People on Twitter were discussing possible names for it, while others even took action.
One man, who learned of the situation on the Action News 5 Facebook page, went to the scene and dropped off supplies he hoped the rescuers would be able to use to help free the kitten.
Another person on Twitter said, "It is amazing how #pipekitty has pulled this community together like nothing I've ever seen before."
Across the country people are getting involved in the conversation. A new media specialist in Connecticut said, "Is there an online media outlet covering #pipekitty live? How come this hasn't gone national yet?"
After the rescue, the same man tweeted, "In all seriousness, the best story of the weekend happened over night in Memphis. #PipeKitty is safe and sound!"
The news of the rescue also went viral. The first photo of Pipe Kitty since she was removed from the desolate pipe she has called home for days spread across social networks like wildfire.
It is a story of an entire community coming together for a scared kitten in a very tight spot.