That being said, last week we got a call from a concerned man living near 19th and West Berridge in Phoenix. He said there was a bunch of kittens and their mom living in an irrigation tunnel and he was afraid the water would turn on and they would drown! After some calls to the water company we were unable to get the irrigation schedule so we didn't know exactly when the water was going to run. Oh, and for those unfamiliar with irrigation, the process is the pipe fills with water and they basically flood the yards with water allowing them to soak it up. So, after an hour or so of the possibility of the water being turned on the next morning, the director of Blistered Whiskers and a few loyal volunteers ride out to the location to survey the situation...
What we found was a mom and her FIVE TINY babies that were maybe a few days old, holed up in a tunnel that's about 10 inches in diameter...oh and of course they were about 40-50 feet back from the only opening...great! Not having any idea on how to get them out, the trusty Blistered Whiskers folk leave them that night...
Flash foward to a week later, the kitten-family is still there...and the nice man that first reported them called back to tell us that the irrigation was scheduled for the next day at 9am! Oohhh eeemmmm geeee! We had to act FAST, considering it was mid-day when this information came in!
The director, Maggi, called our local PETA representative who called in some reinforcements who surveyed the pipe to see how thick it was and how far back the kittens were....and if there were any openings we could scare them to. Of course there were not any openings, but many bends in the pipe and even little 2 inch deep divets that the kittens would surely get stuck in if we tried to net them out...ugh! What to do? Well, The Salt River Project was the company that runs irrigation and they said they would gladly cancel it if BOTH neighbors that paid for the irrigation agreed to push it back a week...sounds reasonable, can you believe it's a whole block of irrigation and only two people pay for it? So, Blistered Whiskers tracks down these two neighbors and one man says no problem, but the other lady said to get off of her lawn and shoo'd us out, basically. For some unknown reason she was very unwilling to help...so, we had a time crunch.
It's 7pm and the irrigation runs at 9am. We have a cement pipe and a bunch of clay-dirt keeping us from these kittens...what to do? After we exhausted all options, I mean, we were writing our city council members and everything! We decided to get some manual labor involved...I can't say the exact process of extracting these kittens, but I will say that we fixed whatever damage was done, if any...
So, to wrap this up - YES WE DID SAVE THEM! All of them! After many volunteers and many hours spent on these kittens, they are all enjoying the nice warm kitten room at Blistered Whiskers, along with their timid mother. See the pictures below!
Measuring how far back the kittens were, and exploring the tunnel:
And finally, introducing "The Pipe Kitties"! Available for adoption in 7-9 weeks!
Here is the article on PETA.org:
Thank you to all of the volunteers that helped rescue these kittens! You made a difference! :)