Cat rescued from drain following 24 hour ordeal

SPCA Canterbury Media Release – for immediate release

spcarescue02The owner of a cat who was rescued from a drainpipe by staff at SPCA Canterbury and the Addington Fire Service is hailing both teams as ‘heroes’ after they spent several hours trying to coax ‘Merry’, a 3 year old white and ginger female cat, from her hiding spot in a Wigram drainage system.

Stelly Reid had been desperately searching for Merry after she went missing on Sunday evening. “Merry always loved to explore but it was very unusual for her not to return home each day, so we knew something was wrong.”

At 6.30pm on the evening of Tuesday 10th May the team at SPCA Canterbury received an emergency call from a concerned member of the public who could hear a cat meowing from a drain in the Wigram area. Animal Ambulance Driver, Danielle Ogle, immediately went out to investigate and spent several hours trying to encourage Merry to come out. “She kept darting back and forth, under the road, through the drainage system between three separate manholes. Local road workers stopped to help and each of us tried to pull her out. Eventually it grew very dark and I decided to leave her some food and come back first thing in the morning to try again.”

At 8am on Wednesday SPCA staff returned to the site and could still hear Merry meowing for help. The Addington Fire Service team arrived and together they decided to run a hose down the drain pipe in the hope that the water would gently ‘flush’ Merry out. The plan worked and Merry emerged shortly after 10am soaking wet, but otherwise in relatively good health.

“We took Merry for a quick health assessment at the nearby vet clinic and were thrilled to find that she was microchipped and in fact a client of the Vet Centre. We immediately phoned her owner who rushed down to collect her” said Danielle.

“When I got the call that Merry had been found I couldn’t believe what she had been through”, said Stelly. “We actually adopted Merry three years ago from the Canterbury SPCA when she was just a small kitten. She was a Christmas surprise for my now eight year old son and considers her his ‘best friend’. We are just so relieved and grateful that she was rescued and has returned home safe and sound.”

Barry Helem, Chief Executive Officer for SPCA Canterbury, confirmed that he is extremely proud of his team and said that everyone was thrilled with the outcome. “Our staff and volunteers work incredibly hard every day to rescue animals from difficult situations and unfortunately there is not always a happy ending. In this case though we were delighted that Merry emerged safe and well. It was the ‘icing on the cake’ when we learned she was also microchipped and could reunite her with her worried family.”

Every year the Canterbury SPCA receives hundreds of calls about missing pets and in most cases the animals never return home.

“Microchipping your pet is the best way to safeguard against permanent loss. Over 80 percent of animals that are microchipped are successfully reunited with their owners”, says Barry.

To find out more about microchipping your pet speak with your local veterinarian or visit the SPCA Canterbury website,



Photo 1:SPCA staff with NZ Fire Service, Addington Station


Photo 2: SPCA staff members (left to right): Inspector - Nina McDrury, Field Officers - Sam Cairns and Danielle Ogle


Photo 3: SPCA Inspector, Nina McDrury and SPCA Field Officer, Sam Cairns (in drain)


Photo 4: Relieved cat owner – Estelle Reid


Photo 5: Left to right: Vet from Hornby Veterinary Centre, SPCA Inspector, Nina McDrury


For more information contact:
Barry Helem
Chief Executive Officer         
SPCA Canterbury    
Ph: 027 479 3513

About SPCA Canterbury
SPCA Canterbury has been dedicated to caring for all animals throughout the Canterbury region for over 140 years. They are the oldest established branch of the RSPCA in New Zealand. Their core purpose is to prevent the cruelty and suffering of animals through education and enforcement.  Each year SPCA Canterbury rescue, rehabilitate and rehome thousands of lost, sick, injured, abused and abandoned animals. The cost of operating this service is in excess of $3 million per annum.  SPCA Canterbury is not government funded and relies on the generosity of the community to meet these needs by way of donations, sponsorship and bequests.

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