Firefighters failed. Police failed. Leonardo succeeded in rescuing gray kitten from drain

No criticism of the firefighters and police intended, but an anthrozoologist, Di Leonardo, his wife and Michael Dennehy succeeded in rescuing a sweet gray kitten from a storm drain in a downpour.

Sweet gray kitten rescued from storm drain by committed volunteers
Sweet gray kitten rescued from storm drain by committed volunteers. Photo: John Di Leonardo
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

You can imagine what it was like: bloody wet! And difficult but the group showed real commitment, determination and persistence (a cat quality, incidentally).

John Di Leonardo is the president of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION) an animal rights non-profit organisation.

The kitten rescue started in earnest on Facebook. A girl had discovered the kitten stuck in a storm drain and shared her experience on her aunt’s Facebook page. The FB post was picked up by someone concerned with animal welfare and they contacted Di Leonardo via Facebook just after midnight on Dec. 1st.

Di Leonardo, his wife Juliana and Michael Dennehy set off to rescue the cat at 248 Street and 143rd Avenue, Rosedale, Long Island. Google Maps tells us that this is a pleasant, leafy neighbourhood.

I think I have found the exact spot where the cat was rescued using Google Maps! Here it is:

Storm drain from which a kitten was rescued
Storm drain from which a kitten was rescued? Google Maps street view.

The band of rescuers arrived at the spot and the manhole cover had been removed by the FDNY (the NY firefighters) on Nov 30th. The firefighters had tried and failed to rescue the little girl according to local residents.

The NY police then tried but they failed too. She was terrified and refused to budge.

Di Leonardo and team used crowbars to get into the sewer. They blocked exits from the drain to prevent the cat from fleeing and set a trap. This was in the middle of the night because they waited until 5:30 am for the kitten to go into the trap without success.

The cat meowed and they assessed that she was hungry and placed some tasty food in the trap which proved successful at 6 am. It must have been a long and trying night for all concerned.

The girl is healthy. She was checked out by a veterinarian and spayed. Di Leonardo and wife are fostering the girl pending adoption.

She has warmed up physically and emotionally and proving to be a sweet girl cat. She needs to put on some weight and be ensconced in a nice new home.

Great work guys.

My thanks to the Times Ledger – serving Queens since 1919. P.S. Have you noticed that quite a lot of young cats get stuck in storm drains?

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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