Kitten Saved From Starving in Sewer

 |  Jun 13th 2011  |   7 Contributions


Rooter the kitten was stuck in a pipe for seven days before Roto-Rooter technicians were able to rescue her. Photo by Marshall Gorby

Roto-Rooter technicians in Springfield, Ohio, recently removed a very cute clog from Angela Neal's drain system.

A week ago, Neal started to hear a meowing sound coming from her house's plumbing. Concerned for the feline's health, she tried to locate the source of the sounds.

In an attempt to save the cat's life, Neal also began calling local agencies and companies for help. She says she got the runaround; several of the organizations didnt return her calls for days, and when they did finally call her back, they claimed not to have the proper equipment.

By then, Neal was desperate. For several days she'd been hearing the kitten's yowls for help. She tracked the meows to the basement, where she could hear the cries the loudest, and began trying to give it food and water. But apparently, none of it reached the cat.

Finally, she made a call to the local Roto-Rooter office and she got some help.

Shannon Doerner and his supervisor, Mark Allen, were dispatched to Springfield with a message that a cat had been stuck in a pipe for seven days. After a week in the drain, Doerner was pretty sure the kitten would be dead.

Before they left the office, their managers gave them a few words of advice: Be as careful as possible and get there as quickly as you can.

As they drove to Springfield, Doerner recalled another Roto-Rooter rescue. Before he started with the company, he'd seen a news story about company employees rescuing an animal from a drain. And ever since, he'd hoped to have the chance to save a beloved pet's life.

When the technicians arrived at Neal's house, she explained the situation as she led them to her basement. She believed the cat was stuck in a series of pipes leading from a seven-foot-deep cistern originally built to collect rain water from the house's roof before the home was connected to the municipal water supply.

Doerner and Allen leapt into action. They set up their inspection equipment -- a light and camera on the end of a long, flexible line -- to locate the trapped kitten. Doerner crawled under the porch to deploy the camera while Allen manned the monitor.

The technicians located the cat and began planning their rescue attempt.

First we tried an ice cream bucket, Doerner said. The cat wouldnt jump all the way into the bucket.

Then Neal found a wicker basket that was small enough to fit in the pipe. Allen screwed a can of cat food into the basket, in hopes of luring the kitten in.

Sure enough, the cat hopped into the basket and started munching on the food while the Roto-Rooter men pulled the basket up and out of the cistern.

If [Allen] didnt have the idea of screwing the can of cat food into the wicker basket, we would have been done, said Doerner. If [the cat] had knocked the food out, we never would have gotten it into the basket.

Finally the emaciated calico kitten emerged into the daylight. Nobody was sure how she survived at all; maybe, they speculate, she was able to catch some spiders and flies and drink a little rain water.

The kitten is now making a good recovery. Neal has adopted her, and given her the name Rooter in honor of the company and the men who saved the cat's life.

Neal has taken the cat in. She briefly debated her name before choosing a fitting name: Rooter.

Below is the WDTN-TV news story about the rescue:

If you're in a reader, you can view the video here.

[Sources: Springfield News-Sun, WDTN-TV]

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