A team of officers recovered a kitten that had gotten trapped in underground PVC pipes in a Desert Hot Springs vacant on the afternoon of May 24 in the intersection of Palm Drive and Estrella Avenue.
After more than two hours of digging, the officers were able to rescue the 6-week-old gray, tiger- striped kitty. He somehow ended up inside the PVC pipes which are usually used as protective coverings for electrical wiring, Spokesperson for the Riverside County Department of Animal Services, John C. Welsh said in a report.
Riverside County Animal Services dispatched an officer to the location after an owner of a nearby business said he heard a cat crying, but struggled to find the specific location of the cries.
Officer Gerald Duchene eventually discovered the repeated meowing coming from inside the PVC pipes. Only about 1 foot of two PVC pipes was exposed, however, and the rest of the pipe headed underground by roughly 4 feet.
“If the cat fell in there – or was placed inside the pipes – it would never have been able to make it up the slippy surface,” Officer Duchene said.
Realizing that the job required some extra manpower, Officer Duchene called for backup. Officers James Huffman and Eric Espejo teamed up with Duchene to take turns digging in the 95-degree heat. They eventually got enough of the piping exposed and realized that the cat was located inside a 15-foot, horizontal stretch of the piping, Welsh explained.
Officers used a hacksaw and low-pressure water to force the kitten out of the pipe. Huffman had the honors of snaring the kitty as it tried to avoid the water flow.
“As we kept digging, it just cried and cried and cried,” Officer Huffman said. “The meowing didn’t stop until we finally got the little guy out and into our arms.”
Since the kitten is so young, Officer Duchene said he would foster the little guy with his wife, Sarah. The couple will foster the kitten until it is old enough to be adopted from the county’s Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms.
Officer Duchene nicknamed the kitten “Piper.”