Googling "How To Rescue Kittens From A Storm Drain"

I drove through the day to spend the weekend with my sister and her family. After dinner, we decided that a walk would keep us from falling asleep at 8:30 and after car time all day, moving was top on my list.

My sister, my niece Emmie, and I strolled through the neighborhood chatting about all things. We had not walked too far when we came upon a lovely lady and her son peering down into a storm drain. We immediately asked if they were okay and if they needed any help.

They quietly explained that twelve year old Josh had discovered four baby cats down in the drain and they were trying to decide how to rescue them. We thought we could help them with this grand rescue.*

We decided that if we managed to remove the grate, Josh could climb down and gather them together and gently pass them towards the light of hope and gentle motherly arms. It took a heave and ho from all five of us to lift off the grate and Josh bravely descended into the dark depths of the storm drain world to retrieve the four kittens. And that was when we all realized that rescues, especially cat rescues, especially wild feral cat rescues, are no easy task. 

The cats immediately ran and huddled together at the other end of the long pipe under the grate across the street. We heaved and hoed on the other grate and Josh descended once again. The cats immediately dashed directly into the middle of the pipe and sat. They were not moving. We were not what they were looking for. We were not their heroes. We were scary large creatures barging into their home screaming “here kitty kitty” - our voices echoing through the storm drain system pipes. 

We tried throwing rocks at them from one end thinking they would run into the arms of a rescuer at the other end. We took turns descending down into the depths as if our sweet luring voice might be more cat luring. 

This was unsuccessful. They were not going to budge. Finally, some food arrived and some neighbors. We thought these sweet kittens might come to food. They did come to food, but, of course, Josh couldn’t grab all four kittens simultaneously. He nabbed one tiny ferocious hissing, screaming, batting, biting kitten. She was so tiny and shrill it took at least five of us to get her settled into a cuddly towel in the bottom of a box. We had one very unhappy rescued cat. The others cats were back to huddle position mid pipe, far out of reach.

Phone flashlights barely lit up their sillouttes, their glaring eyes the only sure sign of their location. We thought and thought about a plan. They were NOT going to come to the food — obviously. That trick was used up. 

My brother in law mentioned using a shop vac to suck them out of the sew. After several chuckles, and no other good ideas, I decided to google - “How to get a kittens out from a storm drain” - yes I did.

One of the first ideas to pop up was to shop vac them out with panty hose over the tube as not to send them down the vacuum. We decided that would work well if they were not so far away, unless someone had a super duper powered vacuum. No one volunteered that kind of tool.

Among us, stood a wise college student. He volunteered a crucial, spectacular idea. Cats hate water! We could spray water in at one end and force them to the other. Of course, no one was home at the closest house, but they did have a extraordinarily long garden hose with a powerful spray nozzle. I decided in this type of rescue emergency, we didn’t need permission to borrow the hose and pulled and pulled until hose and storm drain met.

With a water blaster at one end and Josh at the other, we blasted the baby kittens. They definitely were not impressed with water blasting and rushed straight towards Josh. Josh grabbed the second wild hissing ferocious palm sized kitten. And within twenty minutes, three of the four kittens were safely rescued and huddling in a cozy towel lined box. 

By now, twenty neighbors have gathered. It is a neighbor hood cat rescue. Comments and ideas are flying. The fourth cat had escaped through another tunnel and moved to a new location so the water plan wasn’t a plan anymore. 

It was getting dark and people had ideas and people that hadn’t even been there for the rescue were telling new arrivals that they had rescued a cat. People shared their feelings about cats. Love and hate and sympathy and knowledge. People shared their ideas. We needed a rescue hook. WE needed a long stick with duck tape on it - or a sticky mice trap. They would stick right to it and pull it out. 

Finally the dark and the fourth cat beat us out. We had successfully removed three cats from their cozy storm drain home and left one all alone to find his way without his brothers and sisters to keep him company.

Josh was the hero. He found them and was determined to rescue the four cats from the storm drain. He never let up. He never quit. People came and went and stopped and talked and gave ideas, but he just stayed the course until he couldn’t stay. His sweet mom, had contacted the local animal rescue shelter before the evening was over and the kittens will have sweet, safe cozy homes and I'm sure one of them will belong to Josh.

*Cats don’t want to be rescued.


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