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LIGHTNING PHOTOS: City crew rescues kitten

Erin Hill comforts the tabby kitten that a city crew rescued. Erin Hill comforts the tabby kitten that a city crew rescued.

Erin Hill cuddled a green-eyed tabby kitten in her arms and marveled at how a small town had come together to save it from a drain pipe.


In a scene that could have come from an old Andy Griffith show — if Mayberry had as big a city workforce — eight city utility workers and a police officer responded to rescue the kitten, which had gone into a drainage pipe under Barnwell Street at South Grove. “Oh my God,” Hill said of the rescue. “We moved here four years ago from Richmond. It’s a town full of good people with good hearts.”
The water department workers gently forced the kitten out the south end of the pipe, where Troy Cornett was able to gather it up.
The kitten rescue started with another animal call.
“I was up here because they found a dog that had run away,” Sgt. Philip Hudson said. “Then this started.”
Hill, who teaches a fitness class at Whole Body Fitness, was walking outside near the storm drain grate.
“I heard it and I looked down and he was just staring at me,” she said. City workers responded. Pulling up the grate spooked the tabby cat, which scampered down the pipe and remained there, about halfway between the openings on either end.
At first there were three city workers, including the utilities department director, Lee Smith, then six, then eight. Workers tied a cloth on the end of a flexible plastic pipe and pushed it down the drainpipe until it forced the cat to the other end.
Once he got a hold of the cat, Cornett handed it up to Hill. She’ll add the new household member to the menagerie she and her husband and children keep on their property on Rutledge Road in Flat Rock. They have a pony, chickens, two dogs and two cats. “And now we have another barn cat,” she said.