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Team goes above, beyond, and below ground to rescue wayward feline

Rafa the cat had been missing since the previous night, but his owners could hear him crying from inside a storm drainage pipe in a ravine behind their house.

They called everyone they could to help rescue their beloved pet. Animal Control Officer Mary Ellen Wood received a call from 9-1-1 and contacted Rafa’s owners.

The 8-inch-diameter drainage pipe’s opening is covered to catch debris but allow large quantities of water through, and the pipe slopes down the ravine.

Roto-Rooter sent an employee with a scope that could allow the rescue team to see inside the pipe and locate exactly how far inside Rafa was – about 50 feet from the entrance and halfway to the next opening. The cat was sitting in a few inches of water, but a storm was soon expected to send more water rushing through the pipe.

There wasn’t much time to get him to safety.

More help arrived from Steven Anderson with Seattle Public Utilities’ Drainage and Wastewater First Response Crew.

Anderson, the Roto-Rooter employee, Rafa’s owners, and their neighbors began hacking away at thick blackberry bushes and digging down to the pipe. With the help of a circular saw, a pry bar, a chisel, and a mallet, Anderson was then able to remove a section of the pipe and rescue Rafa.

Once above ground and wrapped in a blanket, the cold, wet cat was back in his owner’s loving arms and on his way to the veterinarian to be checked out. Despite the scary experience he seemed to come out okay.

Thanks very much to City staff, Roto-Rooter, and Rafa’s neighbors for a successful rescue.