Where cat food and a flashlight failed, a quick shot of water did just the trick.
A black kitten that refused to come out of a drain at the intersection of Vale and Chapel Streets in Bureta had a young girl and firefighters scratching their heads on Monday afternoon.
Thirteen-year-old Selena Chapman, who lived across the road, had been listening to the cat's meows after she saw a car stop to see what was making the racket. "I looked down and I could see these eyes staring out from the darkness. It was meowing at me. It was dark down there but I could see her sitting there licking her paws," she said.
"She was about six weeks old and black. She was gorgeous."
The Tauranga SPCA arrived and put cat food down the drain to entice the kitten out but that did not work.
The Tauranga Fire Service was then called and sent a fire engine with four firefighters on board to assist at 6.30pm. Tauranga senior station officer Len Sabin said he shone a flashlight into the drain, which scared the cat and made it run deeper into the darkness.
"The cat was in a culvert that runs underneath the road. It was a reasonably narrow storm-water drain," Mr Sabin said.
"So we put a net over both exits and flushed it out with a bit of water. That seemed to do the trick." Selena's mum Sonya Chapman said flushing out the kitten from the drain pipe was "not as bad as it sounds".
Once rescued, the kitten was wrapped in a blanket and taken to the SPCA. A dead kitten was also removed from the drain.
Mrs Chapman said it was sad to see the kitten in such distress and she hoped the kittens were not dumped down the drain on purpose.