Shop Vac Saves Kitten from Scary Situation

An underground pipe trapped a small cat, until firefighters brainstorm a novel solution of removal: vacuum power.

kitten-saved-by-shop-vac When Verizon workers in Chesapeake, Va., found a tiny kitten trapped in a PVC pipe, their first instinct was to call Animal Control to handle the rescue. Little did they know, it would be far more challenging than anyone expected.

The pipe, located underground, below layers of concrete and a large generator, had been home to the kitten for a number of hours, and fear was keeping her there. Armed with countless tools to help evict the kitten from her hiding spot, Animal Control Officer Sandy Hudson quickly got to work, but reaching the fearful feline proved to be impossible.

An extra-long snare pole? Useless. Giant, 3.5-foot tongs? Unhelpful. Hudson began to grow frustrated from the chase, and when the kitten wedged herself around a 90-degree bend in the pipe, all bets were off. Hudson knew it was time to call in backup in the form of extra hands and…a vacuum cleaner?

“Really, a Shop Vac?” Animal Control Superintendent Kathy Strouse asked Hudson by phone.

The answer? A resounding “Yes!” By brainstorming, Hudson came to the conclusion that a Shop Vac features a long hose powerful enough to hold up the kitten – without sucking her in.

Chesapeake Fire Department Engine 3 answered the call, dispatching firefighter Jeremy Demott to the scene with a Shop Vac, which did the trick in minutes.

“They put the hose down – and zip – the kitty was out,” said Strouse.

Dubbed Ridgid (for the brand of Shop Vac used in the rescue), the mischievous gal has been deemed to be in excellent health, fully tame, and approximately 5-weeks of age. She will be placed up for adoption within the next two weeks.

Perhaps Shop Vacs need to be added to all animal control officer’s arsenal of rescue tools?

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