Thousands of kittens are trapped in storm drains. Why?

If you watch the cat news as I do, you’ll notice a recurring theme: kittens trapped in storm drains. A lot of the time they are rescued by damn good people. On one occasion a woman climbed into a storm drain to rescue a trapped kitten who was crying for help. The woman risked injury and worse but felt compelled to do it. She deserves the highest praise. On another occasion a young girl did the same thing and rescued 6 kittens. Bailey emerged from the drain covered in filth and smiling in joy. What a girl!

Picture of Bailey, a 9-year-old girl after rescuing 6 kittens from a storm drain
Picture of Bailey, a 9-year-old girl after rescuing 6 kittens from a storm drain. Photo: Bailey’s mother: April Canup Bradbury.
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The recurring theme of kittens trapped in storm drains means that across the USA over a year, it is likely that thousands of kittens and sometimes their moms too are trapped in storm drains. Why is this? The news stories never tell us why.

There can only be two main reasons and a possible third.

Kitten rescued from storm drain by heroic man
Kitten rescued from storm drain by heroic man

Mom cat makes a den in a storm drain for her kittens

Although I find it sad and odd that stray mother cats feel that a storm drain is a good choice for a den it must be the main reason why kittens are ‘trapped’ in drains. If this is the reason, technically the kittens are not trapped because the mother choose the location and got to it safely. Can someone enlighten me on this? Is this a main reason why kittens are in storm drains? It seems the cats and kittens find their way into the drain which is next to the road from the exit of the drain where it enters a larger drain (and thence to a river perhaps leading to the sea). If the kittens are rescued while the mother is away she’ll return to no kittens.

Kittens trapped in storm drains are too common
Kittens trapped in storm drains are too common

Kittens are dumped in storm drains

Another possible reason is that some people choose to throw away unwanted kittens in storm drains. This means that they walk from their home, across the street with a handful of crying and bemused kittens and chuck them down the letterbox-like slit that is the opening of the storm drain. Or they stuff them through the grill covering the manhole leading to the drain under the street. This seems unlikely to say the least. What do you think?

Washed into drain

Is it completely fanciful to imagine kittens being washed into the drain via the gutter during a rain storm. I think that it is very unlikely but just possible. Of course a kitten would have to be in a gutter in the first place and why should a kitten be in a gutter? The only reason would be as a stray who has lost her mother. Or something like that.

It would be nice to have some more information on kittens trapped in storm drains because a lot of effort and money is spent in recovering them by firefighters and by kind, generous and courageous people.

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