Lucky cat by name, lucky cat by nature

FARM DRAMA: Te Anau farmer Steve Pei holds his family’s pet cat Lucky, which he rescued after it fell into a water tank.
FARM DRAMA: Te Anau farmer Steve Pei holds his family’s pet cat Lucky, which he rescued after it fell into a water tank.

Lucky the Te Anau cat was nearly very unlucky after he tumbled into a water tank and almost drowned.

Southland farmer Steve Pei returned home to his farmhouse for lunch on Wednesday and could hear the wail of his 5-year-old son's cat.

Following the sound, Pei set out looking for Lucky, thinking he may have shut it in the wool shed. But Lucky could only be heard and not seen.

GET LUCK: Farmer Steve Pei spotted the cat through this overflow hole, then jumped in, boots and all, for the rescue.
GET LUCK: Farmer Steve Pei spotted the cat through this overflow hole, then jumped in, boots and all, for the rescue.

Eventually, Pei traced the wailing to the concrete water tank.

Through a small overflow hole in the tank's side, Pei could see Lucky frantically trying to keep his head above water and clawing the tank's concrete sides. It appeared the cat had fallen in through a manhole. The cat was was struggling to stay afloat in the 8 feet of water.

"It was just starting to go under," Pei said.

With not enough time to get his clothes off, he jumped in, boots and all. "I am quite a big guy, I just managed to squeeze in."

Pitch black inside, he swam around feeling for the cat, which was beginning to sink. Just in time he managed to grab Lucky and lift him on to the tank's roof.

Pei then managed to pull himself out. He then wrapped Lucky in warm towels and nursed him back to health.

When his son Kayden returned from school, he told him what had happened but downplayed his own heroics.

"It was a bit of excitement for the day," he admitted.

And while Lucky was known to be "pretty adventurous", the family is hoping he doesn't choose to go swimming again.

The Southland Times