Sewer Kitten Alive and Well!

It is the kind of story that everyone wants to read every single day: A young kitten rescued from a sewer pipe by a good Samaritan.

It all started on Saturday afternoon when a car driven by Richard Lorenzi, a Jersey City Animal Control Officer, came to a halt at the intersection of West Side and Communipaw avenues in Jersey City. Being that it was such a hot, sunny day, Lorenzi’s car windows were open and he was able to hear a very faint cry emanating from the sewer grate on the side of the road next to his stopped vehicle.

Lorenzi immediately got out of his vehicle and started searching for the source of the cries. The pitiful sounds were coming from a corner sewer basin. Right away, Lorenzi radioed the Jersey City Police Department and, without delay, members of the Emergency Services Unit, arrived on the scene to help Lorenzi.

The eager group of emergency services personnel quickly removed the sewer basin grating, thereby enabling Animal Control Officer Lorenzi to descent into the dark, wet sewer pipe. As soon as Lorenzi was down, he immediately scooped up a tiny kitten just before his little head went under the surface of the filthy dirty water.

The tiny kitten, who is estimated to be only a month old and male, is recovering at the West Side Avenue Animal Hospital, in New Jersey.

The manager of the West Side Avenue Animal Hospital, Roselle Camaligan, stated that, although the tiny kitten was quite obviously sore from its ordeal, it was in rather good spirits and in good health.

“Our sore kitten is in the custody of the city Board of Health, and he is getting medical attention and resting comfortably,” Camaligan said. “Right now, he is enjoying the air conditioning.”

Before the rescued kitten can be placed for adoption, he will need to be neutered first. Therefore, according to Andy Krochalk, of the Liberty Humane Society, it will be quite a while before the kitten will be listed for adoption. The reason for this is quite simple: Before a kitten can be spayed or neutered, it has to weigh at least 2 pounds and be at least 2 months old in age.

Mr. Krochalk said: “We sometimes wait until they are 2 1/2 to 3 pounds to be on the safe side before any surgery. Until then, the cat is in foster care.”

Animal Control Officer Emanuel Machado also explained about another hold up in delaying the kitten’s adoption: a seven day waiting period exists in order for the kitten’s owner to come forward and claim him first, before being allowed to be adopted.

However, this might not be a problem for this little sewer cat. The Animal Control Officer who rescued him, Richard Lorenzi, explained that during the kitten’s rescue:

“There were so many people around the intersection asking if they could have the cat.”

Sadly, it is not uncommon to see cats and kittens of various ages roaming the city streets at this time of year.

A spokeswoman, Amy Gedulding, of the ASPCA national organization in New York City, explains that:

“There is a kitten season, from spring to the fall. It is the warm months when female cats go into heat. It is also when shelters around the country are busiest with cats.”

Senior Vice President of the ASPCA adoption center, Gail Buchwald, explained that the reason that there are so many cats and kittens out on the streets throughout the world is as of a direct result of the irresponsibility of humans, and in fact, the worst scenario that a cat could face in the city is being hit by a car, instead of falling down a sewer pipe.

“Those feral cats are a result of pets being released or because ‘intact’ cats, those pets which are not spayed or neutered, are left to roam outside the home. Breeding season is triggered by cycles of longer daylight. Cats will roam for longer periods. A male cat will disappear for a longer time, sometimes days. They can smell a female cat a mile away,” she said.

If you are thinking about adopting the little kitten in Jersey City, Gail Buchwalkd is warning potential owners that it may be quite a challenge to form a bond with the new kitten. The reason for this is that the kitten would have had no prior human contact for 14 days, before being adopted out. Unfortunately, as each day and eventually week passes by, it will become more and more difficult to bond with the kitten.

However, it is not impossible to do.

Photo Credit: andybee21

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