HOUSTON -

A dramatic rescue took place Monday in the Westchase area of west Houston where a group of concerned citizens worked for hours to save a cat that had been stuck in a pipe since at least Friday.

Jennifer Bautista was on a mission.

"It just breaks my heart. I have cats at home," Bautista said.

She was trying to rescue a kitten that fell down a utility pipe used to bundle electric wiring. The cat was then stuck in an underground duct.

"I didn't expect him to be alive when I came to work today. I was almost in tears when I could still hear him," Bautista said.

She's been at it since Friday. Bautista works near the 3100 block of Briarpark in west Houston and was walking to her car during lunch when she first heard the animal's heart-wrenching cries.

"I'm trying every effort I can to get him out of here," Bautista said.

She contacted CenterPoint Energy Monday afternoon, created a makeshift rope out of towels and a makeshift bucket she could feed it a ham and cheese sandwich.

"Just to be like bait to see if maybe he would climb up at that point. You could feel the tension. He was trying to crawl up. He would grab on and then he would let go," Bautista said.

The rescue mission would become a team effort that included Jennifer's colleagues, someone from another nearby business, a CenterPoint technician and the Houston SPCA.

"My friends call me the crazy cat lady. I guess this affirms it,", Bautista said.

Then shortly before 6 p.m. Monday, after taking about an hour or so to come up with a game plan, workers were able to free the cat.