When the crew at Simon Tire in Des Moines, Iowa, arrived at work last Wednesday, they thought it was going to be just another ordinary day.
But around 9:30 a.m., employees Chris Sauter and Dave Borror noticed something unusual: A cat was sitting on top of a storm sewer grate, crying for help.
They went over to see what the problem was, and the cat ran away before they could catch her. Then Sauter and Borror heard tiny mews coming from below. When they looked into the drain, they saw four kittens, soaking wet and shivering.
The pair called 911 to report the cats’ plight, and an animal care & control officer from the Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL) was quickly dispatched to the scene. Des Moines Public Works employees removed the storm drain grate and, with Borror’s help, fished the floating felines out of the sewer with a net.
The animal control officer then took custody of the kittens and took them to the ARL’s shelter, where they were warmed up under a heat lamp.
All four kittens are estimated to be about four weeks old, said Josh Colvin, operations manager for ARL Animal Care & Control.
Officials believe the kittens were born in the sewer. When rainy weather caused the storm drains to flood, the mother cat couldn’t rescue her babies.
Since they are so young and now without their mother, we will be placing them into a foster home where they will be bottle fed until they are old enough to be spayed/neutered and then will go up for adoption, Colvin said.
ARL Animal Care & Control, in cooperation with Simon Tire, set up a live trap in hopes of catching the mother cat. They hope mom-cat will be able to join her kittens in the foster home.
In the process of rescuing the kittens, Borror managed to drop his cell phone into the sewer.
“He joked that they should name one of the kittens LG after his lost phone,” Sauter said.