As the rain stopped falling, David Loop knew that this was his final chance to save the kitten. The animal, who was stuck in a storm drain, had been crying out for help for more than 24 hours. And if they didn’t get him out soon, the kitten’s short life could be over.
Loop’s quest began in December 2014, when some customers at a branch of Costco in Fontana, California, reported a strange noise coming from the parking lot. And while the noise was almost too faint to discern, someone thought that it sounded like the mewing cry of a kitten. So Loop arrived on the scene to investigate.
And Loop was called in his capacity as head of the Southern California division of Sierra Pacific Furbabies. The non-profit animal charity usually takes dogs and cats from local shelters before finding them loving forever homes; in this instance, however, the organization had been called on to take part in an actual rescue mission.
When Loop arrived at the scene, then, he was able to locate the meows to a parking lot storm drain. And in order to investigate further, one man held on to the animal rescuer’s ankles and lowered him headfirst into the drain. Even when using a flashlight, however, Loop could see no sign of the frantic kitty.
Indeed, it appeared that the little fur ball was playing hide-and-seek. And as a result, Loop left some food and water at the bottom of the drain and began to work on a new rescue strategy. Instead, onlookers attempted to lure the animal out to where they could reach it by simply calling, “Here kitty, kitty.”
However, when that and the food failed to work, the team suspected something might be wrong. Perhaps the poor kitten wasn’t merely hiding. And that, unfortunately, turned out to be the case; the feline was wedged in a tiny eight-inch pipe that the rescuers could not easily reach.
To make matters worse, as Loop and his team pondered how to retrieve the kitten, the heavens opened and rain began to pour into the storm drain. And as tough as it was to leave the cat to potentially drown, the rescuers had to abandon their mission.
“I don’t know what else to do, I’m sorry. I’ve tried everything,” a distraught Loop said in a video diary at the time. Although retreating clearly upset him, he saw no other option given the severe weather. So he waited out the rain and hoped for the best.
Fortunately, though, the storm passed quickly, and the next day Loop returned to the drain to check on the kitten. This time, however, he brought more reinforcements. Indeed, the animal rescue team had grown in both size and resources thanks to the help of good Samaritans.
Of course, the rescuers went straight to work attempting to break the kitten free. And they used a camera to check on the cat, who now seemed more vocal than ever. Naturally, the team breathed a collective sigh of relief when footage showed that the ball of fur had escaped the storm unscathed.
With their efforts buoyed by the sight of the adorable tabby cat, then, the team began digging. And they worked for hours, until day turned to night. Finally, and 33 hours later, they managed to drag the cat onto solid ground.
At that point, moreover, Loop and his team decided that there was only one name suitable for their little kitten: Piper, in recognition of his dramatic rescue. They quickly got him warm and dry, and once the little kitten was back at the shelter he chowed down on a good meal. Meanwhile, Loop began searching for Piper’s perfect forever home.
What’s more, Piper’s adorable nature revealed itself upon his arrival at the shelter. Footage from after his rescue, for example, shows him playing in his pen and enjoying the odd cuddle from Loop. “I wonder if he knows how lucky he is and how many people banded together and fought for him,” the animal rescuer pondered in a video posted to Facebook in 2016.
A few weeks after his rescue, moreover, Piper had some good news from the vet. Specifically, he had tested negative on the SNAP test and was cleared of FIV. This meant that the kitten was fighting fit and well enough to be rehomed.
And, it seemed, Piper’s perfect family had been right in front of Loop’s eyes all along. “I found a wonderful home for Piper, he has been adopted by one of my neighbors, we are very close and I can see him all the time,” Loop revealed on Facebook in 2016. “I am truly blessed that I found the perfect home for him,” he added.
So Piper went to live with Loop’s next-door neighbor Keleigh Angelo. There, the kitten would have plenty of company in the form of Angelo’s daughter Lily, as well as the other animals in the household – including another cat named Sophie and a pig named Charlie.
Announcing the adoption on her Facebook page in 2016, Angelo wrote, “Meet the newest Angelo. We are beyond thrilled to welcome Piper to our family. He is so precious and we are so thankful to have him.”
And, happily, Piper flourished under the love and care of his new family. Over the next few months, in fact, the fluffy kitten transformed into a fully-grown feline. And his family would describe him as a “gentle giant,” due to his kind-natured temperament.
Unfortunately for Loop, however, Piper and his new family moved from the neighborhood later in 2016. Still, the thriving cat continues to soak up all the love he can get from his new family; Loop, meanwhile, is kept busy saving other animals in need.
And Piper has now been in his new home for over a year; nowadays, then, he’s much more likely to be found relaxing by the fire than exploring his outdoor environment. And, thanks to his new family, it’s likely that the cat will never be left out in the rain again.