The creature was crying up a storm, about 10 feet under a hospital parking lot, when someone heard the wails Thursday night and called the cops.
“Meow, meow, meow,” came the cries from a dry well, but the kitten shut up as soon as four or more beefy guys pried out the storm grate and Oceanside firefighters lowered a ladder to the section of a stormdrain at about 8:30 p.m. Close to a dozen rescuers, including police, were on hand, authorities said.
“We probably scared it,” said Oceanside Fire Chief John Madden.
There it was, orange and white, cute, small and trapped with water bottles, a tennis ball and a lot of other garbage on the floor of the storm drain outside the South Nassau Communities Hospital, the chief said.
“Once it was down there, it really had no place else to go,” he said. “The pipes that led out of the storm drain were too high for the cat to get up.”
Perhaps two months old and just bigger than a hand, the kitten probably fell down recently because it appeared to be in good health, Madden said.
One of the firefighters grabbed it with a gloved hand and traversed up the ladder, but as soon the kitten breathed the open air, it bit the hand that rescued it, the fire chief said.
“As soon as we got it up out of the hole, it took off on us,” Madden said. “The guy who had it couldn’t even hold on to it.”
Afterward, he and the other firefighters were ribbing each other about how they let one baby cat get away from them. It was last seen tearing off into the ends of the parking lot.
“It was probably living out amongst the wild anyway,” Madden said, “so I guess it returned from whence it came. . . . It was a feisty little thing.”