Yes, another fat cat story. He really knows how to get himself in trouble! The set up: we moved from a house with a fenced backyard to a house that is more condo-ish with a common area. This was a big adjustment for the cats.
Tiny likes to go out and hunt bugs, they are more his speed. One evening he didn’t come back inside. We didn’t worry at first. He is very food driven. We expected he would not miss a meal. Then he did.
Our neighborhood has a fairly shallow storm drain system. In the common area there is a surface opening covered with rebar. My sons found Tiny at the bottom of this opening.
We decided he must have dived down a larger street opening. With his size in mind, we evaluated each storm drain in the neighborhood. We decided the nearest street opening was big enough for him to fit back through. We took turns calling him from that opening. We shook the cat food bag and a cat treat bag.
He finally came to the opening! He stretched up to get petted but no farther. He must be too weak from missed meals, the boys insisted. After some debate about that possibility, we gave him some food. He ate then went back into the pipe.
We repeated this process several times for two days. Neighbors were curious about our attention to a storm drain. They had lots of ideas how Tiny ended up down there. He was chased by a ferral cat. He followed a neighbor’s cat that likes playing down there. He chased something down there. I was really hoping nothing else was down there. We liked the idea of a car or a dog scaring him down the storm drain.
We hatched a plan to block Tiny’s way back down the pipe. There were 2 pipes at that street opening. Our plan was to lure him with food and then with cardboard block one pipe and use a broom to block the second pipe. He was lured and one pipe was blocked. He freaked out and dove down the other pipe before it was blocked.
The second pipe went to another street drain opening across the street. A boy ran there and immediately tried to open the cover. The cat bolted down that opening’s second pipe. We quickly cardboard blocked the pipe leading back to the first street opening.
Somewhere along the way, we were joined by a friend’s adult son and several new neighbors. The new plan was to persuade/scare the cat back to a street drain opening where we would grab him. The persuade/scare involved using a garden hose to squirt water into the drain pipe from another ground level drain opening.
Tiny quickly figured out exactly how far up the pipe the water would reach. He laid down just past that point and watched. The surface drain where the water hose was being used was downhill from Tiny. Once we realized Tiny’s stubbornness, we stopped, removed the blocks, replaced the lids, thanked everyone helping, and went home for the night.
An Animal Control Officer came to the house soon after. A neighbor had called them. The assessment: willful cat will eventually come out when ready. A live trap was offered but would need frequent checking and removal before any rain. Heavy rain was forecasted to start the next night. We turned down the trap.
The next day my daughter was determined Tiny would have no choice. We lured Tiny to a street opening. He had retreated to the first ground access opening. This time when Tiny reached up for a treat, my daughter grabbed him and started pulling. Tiny is very big and hard to hang onto. After a struggle she was able to pull Tiny out sideways.
Now, do you think he learned his lesson? Not that time. My daughter needed to pull Tiny out of the storm drain 2 more times. Then he became picky when he went outside – only after all of the walking dogs are in for the night. He knows their routines well.