When Jesse Edwards woke up on Monday morning, he thought he knew how his day was going to go. He got out of bed, dropped his kids off at school, and stopped off at the store to buy some water.
Edwards lives in Balgonie, a town in Saskatchewan, Canada, with a population just over 1,600. So when one of his fellow townspeople came running into the store and asked for cat food, he was curious as to what the emergency could be.
The woman told him there were some kittens stranded in a sewer nearby.
Edwards is a volunteer firefighter in Balgonie, and the woman who came running into the store is the wife of one of his co-workers. He raced over to the sewer and found a few local residents huddled around, along with the deputy fire chief.
They’d already successfully extracted one kitten from the sewer, but another remained trapped and was more difficult to reach.
“They already had one kitten out at the time and there was still one kitten stuck in the sewer pipe between the two sides of the street,” Edwards told CJME.
Thinking on his feet, Edwards asked for a plumbing snake, a piece of cardboard, and some tape. He wanted to try and coax the kitten to within his reach and pull her to safety.
Edwards took his shirt off and climbed into the storm drain to fetch the kittens.
“They brought the snake and we tried running a piece of cardboard on the end of it to kind of push him my way, but that didn’t work,” Edwards said.
“So I took off my shirt and told them to tape it to the end of the snake so he wouldn’t be able to get by, and in the second pass of the snake we gently pushed him out my end. I grabbed him there and put him in the box.”
Edwards said the smelly water in the drain was about knee deep, but he didn’t mind the temporary discomfort to save the kitten’s life. He guessed the kittens were three to four weeks old and had likely fallen into the drain several days ago.
A survey of the area found two more kittens, for a total of four. They were all taken to a veterinarian, and while those found in the storm were a little underfed, all were given a clean bill of health.
“As far as I know all the cats were healthy when we took them out,” Edwards said. “As soon as we put them in the box with some food, they just instantly started eating. They were very hungry and scared and wet.”
The kittens were placed up for adoption, and one found a home immediately.
The cats are now in the care of the Regina Cat Rescue, and one of them was adopted before the end of the day. A woman in the town who already cared for a few cats wanted to add another to the pack.
“The team made quick work of getting the kittens out of the pipe, and after a check up at the vet the kittens are now in RCR care. We’re grateful for the kind people who helped with the rescue!” Regina Cat Rescue said on Facebook.
One of the comments on their Facebook post was from Edwards himself, who said the water was cold on his feet, but he was glad to hear the kittens were doing well. He thanked the rescue for looking after the kittens, and trying to find them a home.
The rescue said the kittens would be ready for adoption in about a month.