By Naeisha Rose
A couple, a friend and some Rosedale residents joined forces to rescue a kitten trapped in a pipe in a storm drain during a rainstorm over the weekend, according to John Di Leonardo, the president and anthrozoologist of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION), an animal rights nonprofit based on Long Island.
After a young girl shared her aunt’s Facebook post about a cat being stuck in a storm drain, animal activists contacted Di Leonardo through Facebook Dec. 1 at 12:30 a.m.
Di Leonardo, along with his wife Juliana and friend Michael Dennehy, a cat activist, traveled to Rosedale to see if they could help.
The rescue occurred at 248 Street and 143rd Avenue after the FDNY had removed a manhole cover on Nov. 30 before midnight to try to help the cat.
The kitten refused to budge, and the firefighters eventually left, according to Rosedale residents who spoke with Di Leonardo.
Later the NYPD tried to rescue the cat, but the officers didn’t have any luck and left the scene, too, according to 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. Di Leonardo’s rescue group then brought the kitten to a veterinarian to get spayed, 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 for her age — she is 6 months old — but she did get a clean bill of health, according to Di Leonardo.
Those interested in adopting the kitten can visit HumaneLongIsland.org.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose