Last night around 2:00 AM, when Joey Phipps was wrapping up his bartending shift at Club One Casino, he and I were talking about a post with which we’d been tagged earlier in the evening. Seems like a kitten had managed to tumble into a storm drain in a sketchy part of town and unlike the other storm drain rescues we had done, the cover was reportedly welded shut, presumably to prevent looting and vandalism. Despite the efforts and angst of Shawna Torres and a dozen Good Samaritans, the little one was still trapped and from the sound of it, done with her adventure and HUNGRY.
As the two of us discussed how we’d approach the problem, Joey thought an angle grinder—the preferred tool of chop shops—would be the best choice to cut the welds and remove the cover. You’d need a cordless one, since there’s no three-pronged outlet on the corner of Roeding and Dan Ronquillo and the outlet in an F150 or similar doesn’t generate enough juice to power the tool. If you didn't have a cordless one, a reasonable alternative might be a cordless power saw like the one in the workshop, but you’need a couple of blades since you’d be cutting metal on metal and roughing them up.
If you were to be successful with that approach, it would be best to have a crowbar to move the cover—in our experience, it’s a two-person job—and at that point, you could try to scoop the little one up with a net, but if that didn’t work, it would just be a matter of lowering a trap with some stinky food into the space with the little one and letting hunger do its thing.
You’d want to be sure to put the trap in the truck because it would be a bummer to realize you left it on the shop floor and had to go all the way back once you had the cover off the drain, but then again, the noise of the steel on steel work would like scare the little one deeper into the gloom, so you’d have some downtime anyway waiting for the little one to get the courage to come back out. And who knows, while you were going back to get the trap, you might even get a text to “Bring home a chicken Caesar salad”, so you would’ve had to go back to the Mother Ship anyway.
It would sense to do this around 3 AM so there wouldn’t be any traffic at the location other than maybe a crusty looking looky-loo who heard about the situation from his campmates, but if there were say, two of you, it wouldn’t be that unsettling. On the plus side, since the little one was hungry, you wouldn’t have to wait long for the trap to trip. Hell, the little one might scamper into it and start nam-nam-namming the second it settled on the storm drain floor. At that point, you’d just haul the little one out like last time, high five each other and figure out where to take it.
Once you trapped the little ragamuffin, you’d need to find somewhere to take her since the City and County shelters aren’t taking kittens, and all the rescues are full. You might even have to dump her at one of the more visible rescues, and one whose heart overrules its good judgment. It wouldn’t be optimal, of course, but it would be better than leaving the little one to fend for itself on the street. You saw where that got her, right?
After considering the options, we concluded that’s what we’d do if presented with such a conundrum, figured we’d offer suggestions on the post in the morning and help with the re-weld if it got that far and the City felt the need. And then, this morning, to our collective surprise, we found a new little tuxedo settled into one of our extra kennels, a little noisy and showing URI but otherwise in good shape. I’m sure there’s a fine story of how she found her way to us, but at this point, it’s all just speculation. Stormy.