Ken "Boomer" Strohman, of J. Blanton Plumbing, holds up a kitten rescued from a pipe in Uptown. Credit: Provided

UPTOWN — A kitten was rescued from a sewer pipe just in the nick of time thanks to a dedicated condo board and a group of plumbers.

The young kitten was stuck in the pipe for at least 10-½ hours Wednesday. He was saved only thanks to quick-thinking residents who heard its cries for help and called J. Blanton Plumbing, which sent workers over to break into the building’s pipes and save the cat.

“It was pretty special, pretty interesting in the life of a plumber,” said Jordan Blanton, one of the rescuers.

The kitten had been stuck in the sewer pipe of a condo building at 900 West Agatite Avenue in Uptown since at least 7 a.m., when residents sipping coffee on the roof first heard its meows for help, Blanton said.

The residents searched the roof and eventually found the kitten, who had been playing outside when it slipped into an uncovered gutter line and then worked itself into the sewer system, Blanton said. Desperate to save the cat, the residents called Blanton Plumbing at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. 

Blanton and his staff rushed to the scene. They were able to slip a camera into the sewer system and listen for the kitten, which eventually helped them locate which pipe it was in.

Video of the rescue:

YouTube video

What they found didn’t look good, though: The kitten was stuck in a pipe just 6 inches in diameter, and the pipe was broken in a way that meant the kitten only had about 20 feet to move about in. Because of the break, the plumbers also couldn’t get their camera all the way to the kitten, limiting their options for rescuing it.

But the break worked out in its own way: The plumbers explained to the condo residents — now home from work and nervously gathered together — that they could go in to rescue the kitten and, at the same time, fix the pipe.

The residents called it a “strange, interesting coincidence,” Blanton said — but it was the kind of coincidence they needed to save the kitten.

Wanting to help the kitten and, well, fix the pipe, the condo association held an emergency meeting. Their president was out of town on vacation, but they were able to include him in the meeting with a conference call.

The group approved the fix and Blanton got to work. At 5:30 p.m., the plumbers found the kitten and Ken “Boomer” Strohman, Blanton’s senior field manager, pulled the cat to safety.

Just after the rescue, it started to rain in Chicago — something that could have flooded the pipe and killed the kitten if not for the rescuers.

“Who knows what could have happened?” Blanton said.

The kitten, who Blanton said was black and very small, was reunited with its worried owners.

Blanton didn’t catch the kitten’s name, he said, but the owners are thinking of renaming it, anyway — they want to call it J.B., after its rescuers. Twitter @BauerJournalism

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