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Passersby team up to help free kitten from Nagasaki river drain

Adult cats walk close to a drain after a kitten apparently fell into a river in Shinchi, Nagasaki Prefecture, on Oct. 1, 2019. (Mainichi/Shotaro Asano)
The three cats are seen together after the kitten emerged from the drain in Shinchi, Nagasaki Prefecture, on Oct. 1, 2019. (Mainichi/Shotaro Asano)

NAGASAKI -- A kitten that apparently fell into a local river here emerged safe from a nearby drain after an hour-long rescue effort by random passersby.

At around 7:45 a.m. on Oct. 1, this reporter on his way to work heard a cat meowing from the 20-meter-wide Doza River along popular tourist spot Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown. I noticed a drenched kitten meowing in a drainage tunnel on the riverbank. Two adult cats, believed to be its parents, were seen on a street above the river, looking down worriedly while people walked by.

A passerby reported the situation to Nagasaki Prefectural Police, and officers showed up with a net to rescue the kitten, only to find it further inside the tunnel. They were no longer able to spot the kitten so they said all they could do at that point was to report the matter to city hall. After a while, however, the kitten was heard again from a drain in front of a hotel, which is connected to the tunnel.

People on the street, hotel guests and this reporter teamed up to help open the drain, and waited for a while as the two adult cats that had been watching the rescue attempt came nearby. After some time, the kitten, seemingly cautious, emerged from the drain. The three felines then spent some quality time together as the adult cats groomed the kitten.

Assistant horse trainer Yuki Sakita, 43, from Miho, Ibaraki Prefecture, who was staying at the hotel and joined the rescue operation, said, "I'm really relieved the kitten was saved."

(Japanese original by Shotaro Asano, Nagasaki Bureau)

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