Combined effort saves storm drain kitten

The storm drain kitten after being rescued, dried off and fed. (Courtesy Buzzy Stafford)
The storm drain kitten after being rescued, dried off and fed. (Courtesy Buzzy Stafford)

It wasn’t a cat in a tree, but a kitten in a storm drain that brought firefighters and other animal lovers to downtown Whiteville Tuesday.

It took the efforts of store employees, Public Works, Emergency Management, firefighters and an animal rescue volunteer, but the kitten trapped in a Whiteville storm drain was finally caught around 6 p.m.

“Mission accomplished,” said Buzzy Stafford of the Columbus Humane Society.

City Emergency Services Director Hal Lowder said an employee at Collier’s Jewelers contacted the city after hearing the kitten crying in a storm drain.

“It keeps staying just out of reach,” Lowder said.

Public Works Director Travis Faulk used a sewer inspection robot to find the kitten. The rescuers hoped the bedraggled feline would run from the robot into the arms of a waiting Whiteville Firefighter, but the cat refused. Capt. Mark Rowan and Engineer Jeremy Hooks tried their best to tempt the kitten out of the drain, but feline was having none of it.

Travis Faulk eyes the monitor for the sewer camera, while Hal Lowder waits for a signal to grab the kitten. Firefighters, city employees, Collier’s Jewelers associates, and a volunteer with the humane society worked together on the rescue.

Although the firefighters were called out to a wreck on J.K. Powell, Lowder, Faulk and eventually Stafford continued trying to talk the kitten into moving just a foot or two to safety.
Stafford was contacted and asked to bring a carrier for the kitten, while officials kept trying to catch it. The Humane Society volunteer laid down on the sidewalk and teased the kitten with a can of food. It finally got within grabbing distance just before 6 p.m.

Stafford said the kitten will be checked out tonight, and delivered to a rescue in Brunswick County in the next day or so. He estimated its age at about six weeks.
“Had a bath, given flea meds, a warm bed and waiting on supper,” Stafford said.

One of the Whiteville firefighters assisting in the rescue tries to coax the kitten to the sidewalk.

About Jefferson Weaver 2040 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and he can be reached at (910) 914-6056, (910) 632-4965, or by email at [email protected].