Rescued from a drain pipe, just in time.
When a small kitten was found trapped inside a pipe for an unknown length of time, SPCA rushed to the scene. What followed was a team effort to rescue the distressed kitten before time ran out.
It’s not every day we receive a call about a kitten who’s been discovered wedged tightly inside a drain pipe. But that’s just the call our SPCA Nelson team got in late January.
The call made one thing clear: time was of the essence for this trapped kitten. Having been found as he was, no one knew how long the poor kitten had been trapped without food and water. Our team quickly made their way to the location.
When they arrived, they could see the tiny body sticking out of one end of the drain pipe, and his scared little face clearly visible from the other side. The poor thing was unable to move an inch, but his terrified meows told us how much distress he was in. We knew we had to help, but the concrete of the area he was trapped wasn’t going to make that easy.
Our team tried very gently to move the kitten out of the drain, but efforts were hampered by the jagged and uneven concrete edges of the pipe. With the kitten lodged so deeply inside, SPCA Feline Attendant Carmen wasn’t able to get her hand in properly to dislodge his little head.
It was time to get creative. The next idea was to use some dishwashing liquid and water to act as a lubricant. They tried to lather around his head and upper body to see if he would slide out, but to no avail.
The kitten continued crying out, and our team were desperate to get him free. “He wouldn’t have understood that we were actually trying to help him at that stage,” Carmen says. “He wouldn’t have been handled by human hands before.” Carmen and the team didn’t want to make it worse or endanger the kitten further by using too much force.
It was decided that the kitten needed to be sedated, so that the little trooper wouldn’t be in pain or unnecessary stress while the rescue attempt went on.
Our team called Nelson Vets - Victory, and thankfully they were able to attend quickly, injecting the kitten to sedate him, which relaxed the little body that had been so tense. After sedation and with less stress, the team was at last able to dislodge his head from the pipe.
While everyone was relieved, the kitten wasn’t out of the woods yet. He was alive, but in critical condition, and rushed into the vets for assessment. Despite signs of extreme exhaustion, and having ulcers on his tongue, the vets found that remarkably there was no permanent damage from his ordeal. This was one lucky boy.
Affectionately named Duggie by the team, the kitten was brought back into SPCA’s care, where he quickly stole the hearts of everyone he met.
Needing to grow and build his strength, Duggie still had a journey ahead of him before adoption. He will spend some time in foster care, where he’ll be able learn what a loving home environment is, and gain important socialisation skills. He will then have his desexing surgery, before starting the search for his forever family.
At SPCA, the work we do is always the result of a bigger team effort, especially when it comes to rescuing animals in trouble. Duggie’s story is a prime example of this and we’re so grateful to work in partnership with so many local vets all over New Zealand who help us care for animals in need.