Santa helps save Christmas kitten

Published 6:03 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It was stormy and raining Christmas Eve night when Mary Rigney, the mother of Alabaster’s Deputy Police Chief Curtis Rigney, noticed that her little kitten, LuLu, was missing.

With her husband, Bob, gone to church to sing at a candlelight service, she grabbed her umbrella and flashlight and began searching the surrounding area when she noticed the kitten by a storm drain on the cul-de-sac.

An approaching car came up the street and scared the cat, and it disappeared into the drain.

Mary rushed to the opening where she heard the scared kitten screaming for help, and then went back up to her house and got some towels to drape down the drain, hoping the cat would grab hold and climb to safety.

It didn’t work.

In a panic, Mary called 911 and explained the dilemma to the operator. The operator told Mary that she would contact the Alabaster Fire Department and that Chief Frankie Matherson would be calling her back.

After a few minutes, Matherson called to find out what the emergency was.

Matherson told Mary there was no fire truck available at that time since Santa was making his rounds around Alabaster, but he would send someone as soon as he could.

He begged Mary not to attempt to go down the drain after the kitten herself because this would be very dangerous.

While waiting on the fire truck, Mary and a and a female neighbor removed the large steel manhole cover to the drain and put an old wooden ladder down it.

With no other alternative, Mary decided to go against the chief’s advice and go down the drain herself to try and get the kitten.

Mary said she didn’t care how dangerous it was.

In the meantime, Matherson dispatched a police car to access the situation.

Shortly after the police came, a fire truck that was out on Santa duty arrived.

Mary was getting on the ladder to go down just as the truck with firemen Wesley Lash, Brian Thrasher, Trey Boykins, Lt. Benson and Santa drove up.

The firemen climbed down into the drain and were able to rescue the scared, wet kitten.

“What a wonderful Christmas gift of love was given by these firemen to go beyond their duty to save one of God’s small and helpless creatures,” Mary said.