Miniature Mine Elevator Saves Trapped Kitten


A little kitten might have lost more than her mittens if it hadn’t been for an animal-loving trolley administrator.

On August 9, a maintenance worker for the city of Pigeon Forge, Tenn., noticed a tiny tortoiseshell cat climbing into a utility access hole at the base of a city light pole.

The man didn’t think much of it at the time, probably because he hadn’t seen a street light being erected. If he had, he would have known that the part of the pole you see is literally just the tip of the iceberg.

In order for those lampposts to stay stable and erect, the hollow steel support tube is set deep into the ground and surrounded by concrete.

I can only imagine how that kitten felt as she tumbled deep into the ground and realized, once she landed, that she was trapped with no hope of escape.

Eight days later, the maintenance worker passed by the light post again and was surprised to hear the echoes of a purr. He checked to see what was going on and realized the error of his previous assumption.

It was then that the rescue effort got underway.

Firefighters put a sheet down the 8-foot-deep hole, hoping the kitten would grab on and climb out by herself. But I imagine that after more than a week trapped in that tiny tube, the poor thing was too weak and scared to do so.

Jim Bishop, the marketing director at a tourist trolley company, saw what was going on and decided he had to help.

Armed with some knowledge of mining technology and the memory of his father, whom Bishop calls “a very good engineer,” at work, he created an elevator device similar to those once used by miners in South America.

“It was … one of those, a bag that the cat got in, and I was able to pull it out,” Bishop said.

And finally, 10 days after her misadventure, the kitten saw the light of day.

After a veterinary exam at the Sevier County Humane Society, the kitten was pronounced healthy — if pretty darn hungry! Bishop agreed to foster the little girl, now named Precious the Pole Cat, until she makes a full recovery and is ready to be adopted.

The steel plate that is supposed to cover the utility access hole in the light pole has since been replaced. And I’m willing to bet that Bishop, who says he’s always been an animal lover, is going to end up keeping Precious.

Here’s the story from WBIR-TV news:

In a reader? Click here to see the video.

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