Categories: cats in emergencies

A clever way to rescue a kitten from a sewer pipe: food-flavoured towelling

There is a neat way to rescue kittens from small-bore sewer and drainage pipes, which is to use a length of towelling flavoured with food, for example tuna. Towelling is best because it’s got more texture and it is easier for a kitten’s claws to get tangled up in it and to grab hold of it but I guess any suitable item of clothing would suffice. It is more suitable for kittens as they are lighter. You lower the towelling down the pipe, the kitten is attracted to the smell and hopefully instinctively grabs the towelling at which point the rescuer gently hauls it up. The kitten hangs on perhaps instinctively knowing that they are being rescued. The video on this page shows it in action.

Kitten hoisted from Colorado sewer pipe with towel rope. Photo: Screen capture/Aurora Fire Rescue/Facebook.

I was prompted to look this up because a radio presenter on LBC (a UK radio station) was talking about a recent rescue along similar lines. I can’t find that particular story on the internet but when I searched for this method of kitten or cat rescue a number of stories came up which tells me that it is not that uncommon although I didn’t know about it.

Please remember that sometimes videos disappear because they are pulled from their original source. This video is embedded on this website. I have no control over whether it remains and works or stops working. If it has stopped I apologise.


This successful towelling rescue

The rescue in the video, and which is illustrated by the photograph, comes from the Aurora, Colorado, fire crew who shared the video of the rescue on their Facebook page. As you can see they used a white towelling rope very successfully. They believe that the kitten had been trapped in the sewer for about 24-hours. The kitten was about 8 feet down. This is a really neat and elegant way to rescue a kitten. I am sure that it does not always work because for obvious reasons it depends upon the kitten grabbing hold of the towel. They may be too frightened to move or perhaps are injured and so on. It would be the first method selected, I would have thought, because it is the simplest.

A failed example

A similar method was used on September 10, 2020 when a six-week-old kitten fell into an open sewer in Fort Myers, USA. A cat rescuer, Natalie, tried to save the kitten by inserting a rag soaked with tuna juice down the pipe in the hope that the kitten would climb up it. It didn’t work. Ultimately the kitten was rescued by the water department who dug up the road. An heroic effort deserving of a lot of praise.

Some more on firefighters saving cats and kittens

Raw picture of a firefighter and the cat he rescued

This is a very raw photograph. It is quite harsh but very real. You get a strong sense of what ...
Read More

Picture of quizzical firefighter and agitated black cat

This is another nice firefigther/rescue cat picture. He looks slightly quizzically at the camera as if he is not sure ...
Read More

Picture of two Aussie firefighters cradling two tabby cats

I am a fan of firefighter-cat pictures! And this is a very nice one. One of the best. The guys ...
Read More

Picture of firefighters giving oxygen to cat rescued from house fire is a classic

This is another classic cat rescue photograph from the public services sector, this time from the firefighters of Longview, Washington, ...
Read More

Brawny Italian firefighter rescues tiny crying kitten and cries as well

I left a comment on Reddit to say I think it is a beautiful to see this guy getting emotional ...
Read More

These firefighters will not rescue cats from trees because they don’t deal with animal welfare

Firefighters in West Yorkshire, UK have made a public announcement on Twitter that they do not deal with issues of ...
Read More

Excellent video of cat rescue from ‘huge’ house fire

I like this video of a cat rescue from a house fire. It has quality. It made for some excellent ...
Read More
Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

Recent Posts

Candle sets alight cat’s tail while playing with family dog

A cat is innocently playing with the family dog. Everything is perfect except the cat…

4 hours ago

What is eumelanin in cats?

Eumelanin is a pigment in domestic cats and other animals (and humans). It is often…

7 hours ago

What is fawn colour in cats?

Introduction I have to make an initial point about colour reproduction. When it comes to…

7 hours ago

Vaccinating Siberian tigers against canine distemper virus

A research study by the scientists of Cornell Wildlife Health Center, in association with others…

13 hours ago

Why do tigers have stripes?

Tigers's have stripes for camouflage to allow them to approach prey animals as closely as…

15 hours ago

Why are tigers orange and not green?

The tiger attacks color-blind animals The main reason why tigers are orange and not green…

1 day ago