Firefighters rescue missing cat from 25-foot hole: 'It's a miracle'

Firefighters rescue missing cat from 25-foot hole: 'It's a miracle' »Play Video
Firefighters work to rescue a cat Tuesday from a 25-foot hole. Photo courtesy: Yakima Fire Department
YAKIMA, Wash. -- It was a cry for help one woman couldn't quite pinpoint and a rescue call firefighters hadn't seen before.

"I had been planting these planters the day before and heard the cat," said Virginia Hislop. "I called out kitty, kitty, kitty and nothing happened."

Hislop heard meowing coming from a bush, but couldn't find a cat.

"So I shrugged," Hislop said. "And then I heard kitty, kitty, kitty later, and so I called animal control."

Those officers made an interesting discovery.

"One of the men came and got me out of the kitchen and said: 'Do you know there's a big hole down there?"

It was a hole beneath a shrub that dropped a dizzying 25 feet. Virginia had lived in her Yakima home more than 60 years and never knew it was there.

"A person could fit down here?" KIMA asked.

"Oh yeah," said Hislop.

It wasn't a person, but that's where Virginia heard those meows. Firefighters came to the rescue.

"We've got them out of trees and places like that," said Yakima firefighter Hans Solie, who helped rescue the cat. "But you'd never imagine there would be a residential house like that with a hole that deep in the backyard."

They carefully lowered a makeshift basket.

"The pediatrician who lives across the street saw, so he came over to see if everything was all right, and lo and behold they brought the cat up, and it was his cat," said Hislop.

Mai Tai's family says she'd been missing for weeks.

"We had given up," said Doris Matson. "We just thought she either found another home or she's dead."

The cat was thin, but alive. A vet says the feline is expected to be just fine.

It's still a mystery how the cat ended up down there or where the hole came from.

Firefighters and Hislop think it's an old well.

But they all agree on one thing.

"It's a miracle," said Matson.

It was an unlikely rescue from an unlikely place.

Firefighters covered the hole with wood and marked off the area. The homeowner says she's already made calls to have the hole filled.