Hi There.A JMS story i found on B5 TV Colin.<*>.
B5 creator in kitten rescue drama
Read JMS's account of a fun filled feline furor
Posted By: AntonyF on 2003-07-12
Life is never dull for a TV producer, at least that's what B5 creator JMS's account of a recent kitten rescue drama may lead you to believe.
JMS recently gave his story in a post in the moderated newsgroup recently, and here it is...
Just a little story, a day in the life, as they say....
You'll remember, when last we gathered, I mentioned that a number of feral cats and kittens had settled onto the property. (And I think I've found a group that can help with them.)
Anyway...on Thursday morning, about 9:45 a.m., I heard a caterwauling from behind the house. I went back to see what the heck was going on, and the cats scattered from where they'd gathered. As soon as they were gone, I found out what they were going on about...a mewling was coming from one of the landscaping drains.
Understand: around the house are a series of vertical 4" landscaping drains, which usually have covers on them. Designed to carry away water, they go vertically down about 2 to 2 and a half feet, where they T into a series of smaller (maybe 3") PVC tubes that evacuate the water out into the street.
When I looked down the vertical tube, which had somehow lost its cap, I saw a kitten, maybe 4 weeks old, two-thirds of the way down the tube, where it had fallen. I reacted instantly and reached in to grab the kitten, shoving my arm into the tube as far as I could reach...and I could just barely touch fur. I tried to pull my arm back for another try...and found that I was stuck. Badly. It's worth mentioning that, at this particular moment, I was alone in the house. I fought, twisted, turned, and after several minutes finally got my arm free.
When I looked back into the drain tube...the kitten was gone, somewhere in the T that went off in different directions. I could hear him mewing down there.
I called animal control, and they sent someone over...unfortunately, it was just one person with a stick and loop, which wouldn't do any good because he was at very least a few inches around the corner of the T. And the animal control people don't dig for liability reasons. By the time she'd arrived, the kitten had stopped mewing. She suggested that perhaps he had made his way out the street-side drain already, but in any event, there was nothing that could be done until they knew a) if he was still in there, and b) where in that maze of pipes he was.
At this point I had to leave to take care of some appointments that couldn't wait or be postponed, though I continued to worry. I kept hoping he'd made it out.
I got back to the house around 6:00 p.m. or so, went back...no sound. I leaned into the long tube, and...well, mewed. Over and over. I'd just about given up, and was ready to assume he had indeed gotten out safely, when I mewed one last time...and from deep underground, he mewed back.
He was still in there. I think he must have gone to sleep or been too scared to respond earlier. Now he was calling back in a big way. And the sound was coming from between that tube and the one nearby which was a sheer drop to a second maze of tubes beneath.
Frantic, I put blocks at the other tubes in an attempt to keep him from going any further, then called every plumber in the phone book. Nobody got back to me; it was, remember, the night before the 4th, and they wanted to start their vacations. Finally, desperate, I called the Fire Department, and after several who couldn't help, I found one that would.
So around 8:00, the bigass fire truck pulled up in front of the house, and out came the fire captain and three of his guys. They went to the drain area, and the captain said, "Sir, do you confirm there's a cat in there?" I confirmed, and they went to work. They dug out the original vertical tube, pulling out a small cypress in the process, taking turns, breaking two shovels but still going Even the captain got in there to do his share of the digging.
Finally, having cleared away the dirt around the tube, we're talking about a hole nearly three feet deep and as wide around, they removed the vertical tube and put in a mirror to check the lower tube (which was, again, only about 3" wide).
No kitten. He'd either gotten past the blocks, or -- my worst suspicion -- had fallen down the intersecting tubes that would have taken him even deeper underground. And he'd gone silent again.
Since there was nothing else that could be done at that point, they headed out. Figuring that the kitten must still be mobile if he was able to get out of there, I stayed at the hole from 8:30 until 11:30 p.m., never taking my eyes off the hole, putting out cat food and lights to try and attract him if he came this way again.
Around midnight, the mewing came back again, weaker than before. He'd now been in these underground tubes, meant to carry away water, for nearly 15 hours. It was dark above and no doubt pitch black beneath.
I went back to the phone book. Called everybody I didn't call the first time. Finally, a 24 hour plumbing service sent out a guy at nearly 1 a.m. When I explained the situation, he said he might have to tear up the pipes, uproot another tree, and it was gonna cost a lot. I said do whatever you have to. Seeing how determined I was, and that it was a kitten, he knocked some of the price down, and started digging.
After half an hour, he had the idea to call his brother who had a snake-camera, the kind you fish in to look at obstacles. Didn't know if he was home, but tried. Got the brother, he came out, joined the effort. Kept putting the snake in and looking around. The video carmera showed nothing, though we could still hear him. It had now been sixteen hours.
Finally, they shouted and I ran to the display. I could see the outline of the kitten, on its side, half in water. It had to raise its mouth above water to mew. The kitten totally filled the pipe, meaning there was no way it could turn around, it could only go forward. And that's what it had been doing for sixteen hours, going forward in the pitch blackness and the water, crawlilng blind. It was now deeper into the maze, but at a point where if it backed up, it would eventually get to the opening dug by the fire department. But that was nearly 20 feet back. If we tried to dig, he might scoot forward and get clear...and if he went further, he'd be under concrete, and the end was blocked by roots. If we lost him this time, he'd be gone for good.
So we started bonking him in the nose with the snake camera. He put up a heck of a howling at this, but he backed up. Inch by inch, bonk by bonk, we backed him up for twenty feet.
Finally, he was getting near enough to the opening for me to see the red light of the camera lighting the tube. I dived into the freshly-dug hole face first, shoving my hand into the pipe in hopes of snaring him when he came this way. I knew I was only going to get one shot at this, and if he squirmed past me, we'd be screwed. It was now 2 in the morning, and there I was upside-down in the mud, hand shoved into the drain, with every imaginable mosquito and insect crawling over me, biting, stinging...I'm pretty sure I saw a black widow spider crawl over the back of my hand. But there was no power on earth that was going to get me to pull my arm out of that drain; I missed him once, I wasn't going to miss him again. The water was also backing up around the kitten, and I could hear him gurgling, choking.
Suddenly I felt his back feet brush my hand. I grabbed hold for all I was worth, resolved not to let go, and began pulling. To give you some idea how tightly he was jammed in there, as I pulled his fur dragged the pipe on all sides, making a shuuuuuuppppp sound as I pulled him out, worried that I might injure him by the angle I had to use.
With a final pop he came loose and up into my arms, covered in mud, soaking wet, shivering, but he was OUT goddamnit. The guys were so moved that they agreed to come back the next day for almost nothing to fix all the pipes and even replant the trees.
We bundled him up in a towel and got him to an all night emergency vet's office, where he was diagnosed with extreme hypothermia. Another couple of hours and he wouldn't have made it. He would've lost too much body heat.
He stayed at the vet's for 48 hours, getting warmed up, checked out, getting his blood work and vaccinations done, they checked his fluids and rotated his tires...and he's fine. His name is Buddy, for what I said when I got him out, over and over, "you're okay, buddy, you're okay now."
As I type this, covered in little bites, with the garden more or less back as it was, he is in one of the guest bathrooms, sleeping soundly on a warm towel, surrounded by small toys and big bowls of food and kitten milk. The one thing I've found I can't do is turn the lights off. He's scared of the dark, and probably will be for a while. He's the sweetest tempered kitten you've ever seen, with gray-blue eyes, long black and white fur, and he's just happy to be alive.
I haven't yet decided if I'm going to keep him or let him go for adoption when the other cats and kittens are taken, but the main thing is he's okay. The little buddy's okay.
A day in the life, as they say....
To Strive,To Seek,To Find And Not To Yield.Absofragginlutey