Olive is usually content staying close to home, where she has food, water and a cat house.
But for reasons known only to Olive, the 4-year-old black cat went for a stroll Wednesday afternoon. She likely exited via a kitty door in the garage of her home in Durango’s Three Springs subdivision.
And by intuitions known only to the human mother of a beloved cat, Kristina Antal had a hunch something was wrong with Olive.
“We couldn't find her,” said Josh Antal, Kristina’s husband. “We were looking and just called her name, and we started hearing some meows.”
The meows were coming from the street. They thought maybe Olive crawled into the engine compartment of a vehicle, so they began looking there – but didn’t find her.
Olive is equipped with an Apple AirTag, a tracking device that can be triggered remotely to make beeping sounds.
The Antals heard the beeps coming from a storm drain.
They tried to coax Olive out of the storm drain for about an hour before calling the Durango Fire Protection District.
Firefighters opened several maintenance holes and crawled inside. One firefighter followed her down a long corridor, while another stood at the other end. In total, three firefighters entered the storm drains trying to block Olive’s routes of escape.
But the former street cat is a bit skittish, and she’s quick on her paws. She escaped capture on several attempts. Eventually, Kristina Antal crawled into the storm drain and helped nab the fleeing feline.
It wasn’t without consequence.
Kristina and Durango Fire Protection District firefighter Allen Ottman suffered small bites and scratches as they captured the feline. After about 30 minutes, the frightened kitty was swaddled in a coat and returned to her garage.
“They were a huge help,” Josh Antal said of the fire department. “ … They did awesome. They showed up and real quick they were able to trace her in the pipe and find where she was. … So yeah, grateful for those guys.”