On September 30th, I received a call about a kitten in a drain pipe in Oberlin. When arrived, I found the owners of the property looking into a drain right below a gutter. I could feel the steady drops of rain beginning to fall. We tried everything to get the little kitten to come to the front of the drainpipe, but it was far too scared to and only kept retreating back farther and farther into the drain. We tried to lure the kitten out with food and toys. The rain started pouring harder, and we could see that the drain was starting to fill with water because the kitten was blocking the drain. The homeowner came up with a plan to use a piece of plastic to help divert some of the water away from the drain, but the task was looking more and more hopeless. Sitting there in the mud, I made a last ditch effort. I rolled up my sleeve and shoved my hand down into the pipe. It was such a tight fit I actually scraped the skin off around my forearm, but I could feel fur. I wrapped my fingers around the little kitten and was able to pull the small calico out of the pipe. The owners brought out a towel and dried off the poor thing.
After a few minutes, they handed the kitten over to me and I began to walk back to my car to take the kitten to a clinic to check her out for hypothermia from sitting in the cold water. As I was walking, I heard the faintest meow come from behind me. I placed the kitten in a carrier and walked back over to the pipe. Another meow. Could there have been two kittens? It was truly a downpour now. I took out my phone and opened the camera app. I set the timer and flash and stuck the phone down the pipe and waited. The camera flashed. I looked at the picture. There he was – a little orange tabby staring right at me. He was too far in for me to grab this time. The owners called the Oberlin Fire Department. While we waited for them to arrive, I sat in the rain trying to keep more water for going down the drain.
The men and women of the Oberlin Fire Department were amazing. They took apart the gutter to prevent water from going down the pipe. They began digging out the drain and used a power saw to cut through it like a knife through butter. I was easily able to reach in and grab the kitten. We were all so happy to have rescued this poor baby. We loaded the kitten into the carrier with his sister. Something told me to take one more picture to make sure the pipe was clear. I snapped a couple photos. First picture. Nothing. Second picture. Nothing. Third picture. I could see something. I zoomed in. There it was, two little eyes staring back at me. This kitten was about thirty feet inside the pipe.
This one was going to be tricky. Thankfully members from the city works department showed up with a drain snake with a camera and a light that could be lowered into the pipe. The initial idea was to drive the kitten out the other end of the pipe where it emptied into a basin. However, there was a point where the kitten just would not move any more. But oddly enough, when they started pulling the light back, the kitten began to follow it. It took three tries and a several hours, but finally one of the firemen was able to grab the cold, wet calico from the pipe.
I rushed all three kittens to the emergency clinic where they were warmed up and kept under observation for signs of hypothermia. The next day, they were released and placed with a foster family. I would like to thank the Oberlin Fire Department for their herculean effort to help me save these kittens. Without their support and the support of all our law enforcement officers and civil servants throughout Lorain County, I would not be able to save nearly as many of these cats and dogs as I do.