EL CAJON, Calif. -

A kitten is no doubt grateful to be safe after spending most of Thanksgiving trapped in a pipe.
A small army of police, firefighters and animal rescue volunteers worked for hours to rescue the frisky feline from a pipe in El Cajon, Calif.

The persistent and piercing cries for help began around 4 a.m. Thanksgiving.

A terrified kitten had managed to tumble several feet down an exposed plastic utility pipe on a sidewalk.

Initially, a crew from Emergency Animal Rescue attempted to save it, a tedious and intense rescue operation that ultimately included El Cajon police and Heartland fire.

"We're just trying every different way we can to get down there and try to get something behind the kitten and drag him up and try to lasso him and pull him up," said one rescue worker.

Emergency crews used some old-fashioned ingenuity, creating a kind of "catchpole" out of wire and cable.

"This cable came from animal control, and with duct tape, we fashioned a "get the cat out of the drain" tool," said a rescue worker.

Trying to temp the elusive feline with tuna, it took crews dozens and dozens of tries, and hours and hours of effort.

Finally, close enough to reach down and pull up the terrified ball of fur, apparently none the worse for wear, happy and no doubt, grateful.

It's believed the kitten is a stray. An officer with the El Cajon Police Dept. that helped in the rescue plans to adopt her.