COPPERTON, Utah (ABC4) — It’s official. The Copperton community confirmed on Wednesday, Nov. 30, that Walter was the cat stuck in the storm drain and has safely made it out after days of rescue efforts.

On Tuesday, Rio Tinto Kennecott, a South Jordan mining company, sent ABC4 pictures of paw prints leading out of the storm drain on their property and said they believed the cat had made it out. Coincidentally, Walter’s owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, revealed that his cat came home around 5 a.m. on the same day.

“[Walter] was shaken, lost a lot of weight but had been resting and getting lots of love and attention,” said neighbor Ashley Grace, who had played a big part in Walter’s rescue efforts. “[Rio Tinto is] currently installing a grate on the pipe to prevent this from happening again.”

WHAT HAPPENED?

Neighbor Ashley Grace said Walter is best friends with her cat, Mochi. Last Friday, Grace said Mochi led her to a storm drain, where she believed Walter was trapped 50 to 60 feet into the pipe. 

“That actually is a big concern,” she said. “If we get a big storm or if it rains, the cat could drown.”

Grace and other community members enlisted the help of the Salt Lake County Animal Control Unit, the Unified Fire Department and Rio Tinto.

Rio Tinto rented out infrared cameras to check on the cat, saying the pipe slopes down 90 degrees, which presented a unique challenge to the rescue efforts.

“It’s very steep, and it’s in kind of a wildland area,” said Ryan Perry, manager of communities and social performance at Rio Tinto Kennecott.

The fire department helped by feeding hoses down the pipe as well as food, hoping the cat would use the hose to climb out. They also used a thermal camera to pinpoint the exact location of the cat.

When that didn’t work, the Copperton community donated carpets, cut them into strips and assembled a ladder laden with catnip.

“Cats are familiar with carpets. They can sink their claws into that thing, so it just makes more sense to lower that type of thing down,” said Ben Scholle, another neighbor.