“I waited until I could just barely see the tip of her tail sticking out…”
When Donna Lochmann received a call about a baby animal trapped in a sewer, she dropped everything to help. She raced to the scene and was met by a small, desperate cry from deep inside a pipe.
“I could hear her meowing as soon as I got out of the Jeep,” Lochmann, chief life saving officer at Stray Rescue of St. Louis (SRSL), told The Dodo.
“I looked down and saw this tiny white and black kitten at the bottom of the sewer,” Lochmann said. “She must’ve been around 7 weeks old.”
With the kitten’s meows intensifying and sunset approaching, Lochmann knew she had to rescue the young cat quickly. But the sides of the sewer pipe were smooth, and there weren’t any metal rungs that would allow her to climb down to where the kitten was, so Lochmann had to come up with a different plan.
“I went back to the Jeep and saw a big bag of dog food,” Lochmann said. “I emptied out the food into a box, cut a hole about two inches down from the top of the bag and clipped two leashes to it so that it would be long enough.”
Lochmann then smeared some wet food inside the bag before lowering it down into the sewer pipe. The kitten was hesitant at first, but her hunger eventually took over as she crawled toward the bag and started to lick the food inside.
“I waited until I could just barely see the tip of her tail sticking out,” Lochmann said. “Then I pulled the leash up and she slid right to the bottom of the bag.”
With the cat in the bag, Lochmann carefully lifted her up and out of the sewer pipe. As soon as the kitten was finally safe in Lochmann’s arms, the devoted rescuer was able to get a better look at her condition.
“She was all wet from being at the bottom of the sewer, so I tried to get her dry by putting her into a carrier with some towels,” Lochmann said. “She was a super sweet little kitten and didn’t hiss at all.”
The kitten then accompanied Lochmann for the rest of the day. She and Lochmann went to an art show together, where she got the name Tardy for how late they’d arrived. Then, Tardy went to Lochmann’s home for a sleepover, where she made an unexpected best friend.
“My dog loved her,” Lochmann said. “She would rub up against the bars of her crate, and my dog would just lick her.”
After their sleepover, Lochmann took Tardy to the animal shelter. But the kitten didn’t stay there for long, finding a foster home right away.
Tardy is still too young to be adopted, but she’s absolutely loving life in her new foster home. And in a few months when she’s big enough to be spayed, her dedicated caregivers at SRSL will find her the perfect forever home.
Until then, Tardy will continue to cuddle up with her foster parents and enjoy her life from inside a warm home instead of a dark, damp sewer pipe.