WHAT a little Tinka! This adventurous tabby kitten used up one of its nine lives after it crawled through a tiny hole and got stuck inside a wall.
The frightened miaows of the missing moggie sparked a rescue operation and firefighters stepped in to knock bricks out and rescue seven-month-old Tinka.
The drama happened after owner Carrie Million returned from a weekend away to find the family pet trapped.
The 34-year-old mother, of Pentland Close, Peterlee, left a neighbour caring for the cat while she was visiting Blackpool.
However, Tinka managed to escape their watchful eye to climb into the cavity wall through a hole in the outside of the house.
Now Carrie and daughter Summer, four, have thanked the fire crew which saved her.
A support worker at East Durham College’s Houghall Campus, Carrie said: “When I came home, I could hear her crying and she’s such a loving cat.
“When she wasn’t there I started to panic and I knew something was wrong and started listening to where the noise was coming from.
“I went into the garden, looked in the bin, because I know there was that story of the woman who put the cat in the bin.
“I was worried someone had done the same thing and I had a quick look in my neighbours’ gardens.
“Then my neighbour came and started looking as well and we found this hole where she was.
“I could feel her paw, so I knew she was in there.
“Someone said why don’t you ring the fire brigade?
“I wasn’t sure if you should really do that, so I got the number from the Yellow Pages and asked and they said they’d see.
“The next thing I knew there was a fire engine at the door.”
Carrie feared Tinka, who has joined the family’s older cat Georgie, was injured, but she emerged from the wall unscathed.
It is thought she climbed into the gap to escape the downpour over the weekend, although the home’s shed had been open for her to shelter.
Carrie added: “The firefighters were probably here for about half an hour chipping at the bricks and they had to remove about four or five.
“They all gave her a stroke after they got her out.”
Summer, a pupil at Shotton Hall Primary, was staying with relatives while the drama unfolded and was delighted to find Tinka was unharmed.