A 7-week-old kitten is safe and recovering from a trip down a narrow drainage pipe in the Coachella Valley after an animal control officer and a good Samaritan worked together to free the animal.
An employee at an Indio business picked up a box near a dumpster to get it out of the way of a soon-to-arrive trash truck Monday. Three kittens who had apparently been nibbling on food in the box scampered out.
Two ran away, and the third ran into a drain pipe.
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The employee called animal control, and the arriving officer tried to pull the kitten from the pipe, but was unable to reach far enough. The drain was near the entrance of a carpet store, and its owner, Sal Flores, gave it a try and was able to rescue the wet, scared kitten.
"We had quite a little adventure with him," Flores said in a statement from the Riverside County Department of Animal Services. "When I reached inside the drain, I felt his tail and then was able to locate his legs. I nudged him out very gently."
Flores handed off the kitten to Animal Control Officer Kyle Stephens, who took him to one of the agency’s local shelters.
"He seemed paralyzed at first, as if he was scared out of his mind," Stephens said in a statement. "But I wrapped him up in a towel and dried him off."
Now nicknamed "Genie," the kitten will be kept at the shelter for a few weeks before being put up for adoption. It is thought he is a stray without an owner.
Genie is "resting comfortably," animal services said.
Flores, for his part, said he is keeping an eye out for Genie’s siblings or pals, and hopes they can also be found and put up for adoption.