Stormy: A Cat's Tail (Tale)

Scott called the fire dept which refused to help. I tried to get the city's animal warden to get involved but...

The beginning of August I was required to be in Charles City Iowa, USA, for work at one of our great customers, CAMBREX.  I had scheduled myself to stay for two days 2-3rd of Aug at the Sleep-Inn on Grand Ave. It is a pet friendly, clean, well run and impeccable maintained hotel. We, (me, Kirsten and our cats have stayed there 4 or more times per year for years) and have enjoyed their hospitality and helpful services. On, the second day of working with my local supervisor, Larry Schmidt, we scheduled a split work day, so to work around  CAMBREX's ongoing yearly shutdown refurbishments

Now to the TAIL or TALE:
I leave the Sleep-Inn just before 3 pm to meet the crew. As I get into my truck I hear the extreme scream of a very young kitten in dire distress. If anyone has every heard that cry, they will know why my hair stood on end. I drove over to where the screams were coming from.  To my horror it was from down a storm-sewer, next to where a vagabond tool-sales semi-truck had been parked the night before and we suspect they threw the kitten down the drain. I called out down the sewer and received answering panic calls from a very young kitten.

I called my life partner, Kirsten, in our hotel room to come down and help me. I also called Scott the hotel day manager for help. Scott called the fire dept which refused to help. I tried to get the city's animal warden to get involved but it was 5 min before quitting time and being part-time chose to not be involved.

Scott and I got the heavy round cover off of the storm sewer and much to our shock, saw a 6 or 7 week old kitten at the bottom of the 8 foot deep sewer pipe. The only ladder that Scott could find was too wide to fit. Kirsten talked down the pipe and dropped cat food down the sewer to keep the kitten below her, hoping to keep it where we could see her.

Desperate for help, we called the local newspaper, Charles City Press, who responded with a photographer and I called the city administrator’s office. I told the city administrator, Tom Brownlow, that as I was from out of town the newspaper had suggested he would be the best resource. I told him I was having no luck getting help saving this kitten from any city department and asked if he could intervene on our behalf. Thankfully Tom was able to get two public works employees and two police officers to respond. The public-works father and son team tried every trick they knew to get to the kitten but to no avail. The police lieutenant and fellow officer (car 4) removed covers further down the line but there was no possibility of human access. (Way too small and deep). 

The police officer called one of the other officers to bring a catch stick to grab the kitten, but it was too short and frightened the kitten. The car 4 officer went for a live trap, but it was too big for such a confined area. Kirsten , Scott and I kept talking and  feeding the starved trapped kitten. We had been trying for over 1 ½ hours.

Thankfully, the public works team left a long rope for the police officer's live trap before leaving but the trap was way too big. I went and grabbed a 5 gal (USA) plastic pail from my truck. Scott tied the rope to it, Kirsten put in cat treats and Scott lowered it down the hole and eased it over on its side. The kitten approached but would not go in.

Stormy - In a quandaryQuandary
Kirsten said she knew just the trick and ran and got a can of tuna (Neptune's cat magnet) and dribbled some into the bottom of the pail. Down it went again, over on its side and after more calling and inducing, thankfully it was "tuna-time" and the kitten approached the pail. Kirsten and Scott called out to me as I held the rope: "her head is in, one foot, two feet, tummy, back feet, and the tail is out of sight. PULL! PULL!"    

I yanked the pail up and we had the kitten. (see photos). It was skin and bones and not much longer than my hand. Kirsten said she was going to adopt it but we could not take it with us for a week, since we were due in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, for the next 7 to 10 days. The police officer said he knew someone over at PAWS Humane society in Charles City and graciously took the kitten to PAWS with my business card attached.

Luckily the next day we were able to catch one of the volunteers, who was cleaning up after the many cats and dogs and we were able to photograph Stormy.  Kirsten was able to spend some time holding and petting her new family member, before we left town for Omaha.

Poor Pat and Julie, we and others bombarded them with calls, when our contact person, Karen, became ill and did not return calls, trying to find out Stormy's status and arrange a pick-up day and time. Julie graciously called Kirsten and alleviated some of her concerns and tentative arrangements for Stormy's pick-up were set. Kirsten worried for the next 9 days and called, worried over Stormy's health. Kirsten was quite concerned until we were able to drive back to pick up the kitten, that she had named STORMY (saved from a storm-sewer).

Pat and Julie who voluntarily administer and slave labour at Paws had cleaned, de-fleaed, vetted and provided food and medicine for the little girl's return to a stable condition.

Due to their kindness, we have been able to wed one more member to our family. We can not express our thanks enough for all their trials and tribulations on our behalf.

We have older cats and Stormy got a mixed reception;

Tigger, our very old cat, is nonplussed and has gone about his normal life style;

Tristan, (male) a 2 year old tiger stripe, checked her out and gave her the once over cleaning and now could care less;

Tweetie, our torte, went ballistic and has been just beside herself ever since, YOU KNOW==> that the interloper had arrived in her domain. Only time will tell…

Only time will tell...I would appreciate if you can spread the word about the people of Charles city’s kindness for the saving of one little kitty's life and ask them to send a note of thanks to these kind souls from cat lovers around the world:


Scott Cline and Roy Watson at the SLEEP-INN hotel, 1416 Grand Ave., Charles City Iowa. 50616 for saving Stormy. If you are in northern Iowa please stay at this hotel.

Giles Bruce, staff writer Charles City Press  801 Riverside Drive, PO Box 397, Charles City, Iowa. 50616 for page 2 story, photos, follow-up and intervention.

The Mayor James A. Erb,  for his choice of city administrator.

The city administrator, Tom Brownlow at  for his intervention.

The chief of police, for the all the great officers that responded.

But a really big thank you to Pat and Julie for being the kind and generous volunteers that they are!!!!.

They and their subordinate volunteers run a very compassionate, very under- funded, no euthanasia, animal shelter filled to the rafters with kindly treated future pets, in Charles city, Iowa, at PAWS, P.O. Box 651, Charles City Iowa, 50616.

If it hadn’t been for the help of all these people the next rain storm would have been the death of this little kitten, STORMY, had she had not starved to death first.

With grateful thanks,


You can read Stormy's diaries here

A Morning Kiss

A morning kiss, a discreet touch of his nose landing somewhere on the middle of my face.
Because his long white whiskers tickled, I began every day laughing.

Janet F Faure

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