It was a race against time in Pelican Bay on Thursday night as crews worked to rescue a cat from a storm drain as rain fell.
That cat, lovingly named Mistletoe by the people who discovered it, is now safe. One of the neighbors has even adopted her.
Mistletoe’s ordeal started four days ago when neighbors discovered the cat after hearing its cries from under their feet.
“When you hear that cat crying like that, nothing, it’s like a baby crying. You just can’t say no,” said Laurie Bruckmann.
Mistletoe’s cries for help had neighbors in Pelican Bay rallying to the rescue.
“It’s an animal. You gotta do it, absolutely. I mean, it’s Christmas time, the poor cat’s crying, you know, you want to save one of God’s creatures,” said Mark Rathbun.
Rathbun’s birthday was Wednesday, and he spent it in a manhole in an attempt to save the cat.
“It’s curiosity we had all the neighbors out and with the help of everybody across the street, here there, I mean, we had maybe 15 people. We were all together trying to get this cat out of here,” said Rathbun.
In the end, the neighbors had to call the county to come out and dig up the road to reach the Mistletoe.
“The cat was actually sitting on top of a pipe, and as soon as the concrete came up, it just jumped, and I grabbed it,” said Marshal Miller, superintendent of road maintenance for Collier County.
The rescue came just in the nick of time.
“There’s 100,000 ways it could have gone wrong, but we got it right tonight, and I’m really proud of the crew that did it because they’re the ones who did all the work to get it out. It was a great team effort. The entire community came together to rescue what was a cat in a drain. It’s a nice Christmas story,” said Miller.
The road remains torn up after the rescue, but for now, it is no issue for the people who live in the area whose hearts are full, knowing Mistletoe is safe inside a warm home.