MONROE TOWNSHIP - Emergency crews have rescued a kitten that fell down into an underground pipe in Monroe Township.

The kitten became trapped yesterday near at the Concordia Shopping Center on Perrineville Road. Employees and shoppers heard the kitten's cries and contacted authorities.

"They actually called animal control," says Jeanie Artishenko. "And animal control came. They did everything they could. We sent ropes down there, hoping that the kitten would crawl out. It didn't overnight."

With help from the Carteret Animal League and Township fire, police and animal control, everyone pitched in to help the property owner dig down to the unused PVC conduit, just 5 inches wide, where the kitten was trapped.

Workers had to saw through pavement, dig through earth and rock, and eventually uncovered the pipe. A section was cut out and the young black and white cat was pulled from the pipe.

It may have just used up one of its nine lives, but the kitten appeared healthy. Alex Klinger, of the Carteret Animal League, says a veterinarian will take care of the kitten's medical bills.

"It's an amazing feeling," says Joseph DiSanto of East Brunswick Animal Hospital. "Everyone worked so hard. It's totally a group effort. The policemen, the firemen, PSE&G was here. Guys working the jackhammers - so a lot of people really cared. This guy will get a good home."

Several people have already come forward to adopt the kitten if it needs a home.