Inside WRAL

Crafty kitty rescued after escaping from WRAL

Posted August 17, 2010 11:16 a.m. EDT

One of the perks of working at WRAL is that adorable animals come to the studio every day so they can appear on TV and hopefully be adopted. But sometimes those animals get loose.

I once chased a runaway dog after its handler lost her grip on the leash. The dog bolted across the grass in front of our station. Thankfully, a nearby landscaper was able to catch the dog, and I returned it to the handler.

We recently had a cat escape, and I just had to share the heart-warming rescue with you. My co-worker, Shelly Leslie, wrote this story about it:

It all started on a Sunday morning at the WRAL studios. Flurry arrived with her person from Snowflake Rescue for her big moment on TV. Instead of having her close-up, the crafty little kitty escaped!

Snowflake Rescue volunteers searched the parking lot, under cars, in the bushes, in the gardens. They searched for hours with no luck.

Cindy Shears is Flurry’s foster mom. “We looked everywhere. I knew she was in there somewhere.”

Cindy gathered more searchers and returned Sunday night. Walking the parking lot, Cindy called out to Flurry over and over and finally, the kitty answered. “I called her name and she answered me every time. I kept talking to her and she talked back to me. She led me right to her.”

Flurry was eight feet underground, trapped in a storm drain.

“It was a miracle! I’ve never found one in a storm drain. I never thought she would’ve gone in there. I was in the right place at the right time and she recognized my voice and she kept answering me. Once we found her, the challenge was getting her out!”

When Cindy realized the storm drain was welded shut, she knew she needed help to pull off the rescue.

The Snowflake volunteers called Animal Control. They alerted the WRAL Security guard, Christina Hooker, who began working the phones. She called the WRAL-TV weekend manager on call, General Sales Manager Quinn Koontz, who happens to love cats!

“The security guard was wonderful! She started calling all the people to help us," Cindy said.

Christina called Bobby Gregory Welding, told him about the feline in fear trapped in the storm drain and Mr. Gregory didn’t hesitate, “I’ll be right there.”

Bobby Gregory, a giant of a man with a heart of gold, happens to love cats.

“We were amazed a welder would come out on a Sunday night for a cat! This guy was great," Cindy said.

Snowflake volunteers fashioned a food tray out of a tin plate and a bungee cord and lowered food down the drain to keep Flurry in place while Mr. Gregory fired up the generator and got the welding tools ready.

A few minutes later, a courageous Snowflake volunteer climbed down into the opened drain and brought the kitty out safely.

“She was dirty and frightened but she never got irritated after all she went through. I wanted to thank everyone at WRAL that were so kind and helpful during her rescue. It was nice to see that a lot of people are such animal lovers," Cindy said.

When asked what he was owed for the rescue, Mr. Gregory said, “You don’t owe me a thing. This is just the right thing to do. That cat needed a chance.”

As a thank you to Mr. Gregory, Quinn Koontz and WRAL Business Manager Leah Chauncey visited his business to give him a WRAL hat and travel mug. Just a little thank you for truly being one of the good guys. What was he doing? Looking at!


Thanks to Shelly Leslie and Cindy Shears for this story and photo. On a side note, I need to find out if Flurry was ever adopted. I'll let you know.

UPDATE: It looks like Flurry is still up for adoption.

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