Heroic Thames Water workers save deaf cat trapped in storm tank

Last reviewed:

Cat rescue 1

This is the moment a deaf cat was rescued on a Thames Water site after getting trapped in a disused storm tank.

Basti had been missing from her home in Colliers Wood for more than a month when she was spotted in the empty tank at Wandle Valley sewage pumping station in South London.

Kiersten Attwell, who works at the site, had heard meowing coming from behind a row of offices several mornings in a row but had been unable to work out where the sound was coming from until he walked up on to a grass verge and spotted Basti in the 4m-deep tank.

Kiersten, a project office manager for MGjv, a sub-contractor for Thames Water, used planks of wood with the help of his father Gary, construction contracts manager at the firm, to help get the noticeably skinny animal out of the 36m x 13m tank to safety.

With a little encouragement from her saviours, Basti clambered up the plank and, despite almost slipping from the wood several times, made it to safety.

Kiersten and Gary then treated the malnourished moggy to a bowl of milk and some fish at a room on the site, before she promptly fell asleep for a catnap in the sun.

Kiersten said: “When I saw her, it was just shock. We were all surprised to come across a cat in the bottom of the tank.

“We think she probably chased something in there, got in the tree and climbed down but couldn’t get back out.”

Gary added: “For a few mornings Kiersten could hear meowing but when he looked around he couldn’t see anything. She must have been sheltering in the green area.

“She followed us down to the offices, Kiersten got her a saucer of milk and my best treacle-coated smoked salmon!”

Cat rescue 2

Colleague Matt Loft, a site agent for another sub-contractor Falco Construction, spotted a medallion on Basti’s collar and rang relieved owner Diana Jaleru, who was so grateful that she brought the team a box of chocolates and a voucher for supermarket Tesco as a thank-you.

Matt said: “We put the cat on a table and left her in a room asleep in the sun enjoying herself. We showed the lady through the window and she was over the moon.

“I’d like someone to do the same if it was mine.”

Gary added: “Matt stayed around until 5.30pm so she could pick up the cat. It’s great that we’ve gone the extra mile.”

Basti, who was found abandoned in Brussels, Belgium, by friends of Ms Jaleru before being brought to the UK, had halved in weight during the ordeal and was noticeable dirty when she was found.

The pumping station contains the disused storm tanks as remnants of the old sewage works which closed in the Seventies.

Watch the video of the rescue here.