Resilient rescuers and residents work together to save cat trapped in a Rosedale storm drain

A kitten that was stuck in a storm drain was rescued in Rosedale.
Photos by John Di Leonardo

A couple, a friend and some Rosedale residents worked together to rescue a kitten trapped in a pipe in a storm drain during a rainstorm over the weekend, according to John Di Leonardo, President and Anthrozoologist of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION), an animal rights nonprofit.

After a young girl shared her aunt’s Facebook post about a cat being stuck in a storm drain animal activists contacted Di Leonardo via Facebook at 12:30 a.m. on Dec. 1, and he along with his wife Juliana and his friend Michael Dennehy, a cat activist, traveled to Rosedale to see if they could help.

The rescue occurred at 248th Street and 143rd Avenue; the FDNY had removed a manhole cover just before midnight on Nov. 30 to try to help the cat, but the kitty refused to budge. The firefighters eventually left, according to Rosedale residents who spoke with Di Leonardo and pointed out the manhole.

Later the NYPD tried to rescue the cat, but unfortunately, they didn’t have any luck either, and the police officers left too, said Di Leonardo.

“With the manhole covers opened we used crowbars to access the sewer,” said Di Leonardo. “We blocked off exits to the sewer so that cat would have nowhere to go to retreat further in.”

Once the exits were blocked Di Leonardo, his wife and Dennehy left a small metal trap in the sewer and waited there until 5:30 a.m. for the cat to get in, but the little cat had still refused to move during the heavy rainfall.

“The cat started meowing like it had hunger pangs, so we put cat food and tuna in the trap,” said Di Leonardo.

The cat finally went into the trap at 6 a.m. and Di Leonardo and company hauled the kitten off to a veterinarian to get spaded, and are fostering the cat at his home until it gets a forever home, according to the president of LION.

“At first she was a scaredy cat, but now that she realizes that we just wanted to help her she has become very sociable and very sweet,” said Di Leonardo.

The four-pound cat is underweight at 6 months old, but she did get a clean bill of health, according to Di Leonardo.

To learn how to adopt the kitten, go to HumaneLongIsland.org.