It took one real estate agent, one apartment manager, two animal rescue workers and four plumbers to rescue three 3-week-old kittens from a storm drain near ReMax Choice in Bloomington, Illinois.
The kittens were trapped about 30 feet from the entrance of the sewer. According to Krista McAlerney, the real estate agent who discovered the distressed kittens, the mother cat had moved them but couldn’t get them back. No one knows what happened to her.
Animal control workers and Bloomington firefighters tried to help, but were unsuccessful. Then Pat and J. Garrie Burr of Central Illinois Small Animal Rescue of Colfax started calling friends in the plumbing business. Mike Randall of Anaconda Sewer and Drain assessed the situation and contacted plumber and former boss Mike Olson of Rewesewer. Friends and relatives also joined in the rescue effort.
Olson used a fiber optic camera to locate the kittens. The team opened a manhole but their first rescue attempt, a bucket and rope contraption meant to nudge the kittens toward the opening, was unsuccessful. Then Randall got a rubber lid from his car and fashioned a sled to pull the kittens out. He described the operation as, “a sleigh ride through the storm drain.”
The kittens were all wet and black from the sewer, but were “cute, little fur balls” after they were cleaned up, Pat Burr said.
According to Vera Honoka of Champaign, who will keep the kittens until they are old enough and strong enough for adoption, the little ones seem to be doing well. They have been named Cinnamon, Stormy and Pita.
Pat Burr was grateful for all the help, pointing out that the plumbers gave up several hours of their time to save the kittens.
Randall declared, “Of course, we did not charge anybody for our time. When it comes time to rescue three little, helpless kittens, you do what you have to do.”