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Firefighters save kittens from storm drain

By Kathy Chaffin
kchaffin@salisburypost.com
We’ve all heard about firefighters rescuing cats from trees, but Thursday evening, the Salisbury Fire Department rescued four kittens from a storm drain on Corporate Circle off Julian Road.
“They really went far beyond what I expected for some kittens,” said Karen Curry, a nurse at Rowan Family Physicians. “God bless them.”
Curry said she was trying to get the kittens out of the drain when a Rowan County Sheriff’s officer who was at Salisbury Gymnastics & Cheerleading with his wife and children pulled the grate off for her. A Rowan County Animal Control officer who also happened to be there offered his help.
“If I knew their names, I’d give them to you,” she said. “They all just did a wonderful job.”
Curry said she shined a flashlight in the drain to locate the kittens, but couldn’t get to them. “The next thing I knew, the sheriff’s officer had called the fire department,” she said. “And along came the fire truck.
“There must have been 10 or more firefighters. It was amazing. I thought it was a lost cause.”
After assessing the situation, Curry said firefighters decided to put a hose in one end of the drain, hold a net at the end of the other and flush the kittens out. She was there with a towel to dry them off as firefighters pulled them out.
The mother cat, which Curry and other staff at Rowan Family Physicians had been feeding for months, managed to take one of the kittens to another location before firefighters arrived.
Curry, who worked as a veterinary technician for the late Dr. George Hill for 14 years before going to nursing school, said the cat was just a few months old when she started feeding her.
“I was hoping to get her fixed before she got pregnant,” she said, “but she beat me to the punch so to speak.”
The feral cat had kept her kittens in the bushes in front of the clinic. Curry had planned to take her and the kittens to the home of her parents, Barbara and Ken Owen of Sherwood Street, a couple of weeks ago.
She put the kittens in a box, but was unable to catch their mother. “So I put her kittens back where she had them because I didn’t want to lose her trust.”
After that, Curry said the cat took the kittens into the storm drain “and as far as I knew, they had drowned.” She noticed, however, when the cat would come to the clinic for food that she was still nursing.
“I started watching her to see where she went and following her,” she said. “I’ve been watching her go into the storm drain. Just yesterday, I saw her go down in the storm drain, so I thought I’ll just go to each one and see if I could tell which direction she was going.”
Thursday, when Curry got off work, she went back to the drains and heard the kittens meowing. After their rescue, she and her sister, Charlotte Sparks, took the kittens to their Corbin Hills townhouse.
Curry, who has dreamed for years of opening a sanctuary for unwanted animals, bought some replacement milk for kittens to feed them. She said she would like to keep them, but they already have three cats.
“I rescued one from Walgreen named Wally,” she said. “That’s my third and my last because we also have two Shih Tzus. We can’t have anymore.”
She plans to take the kittens, which are gray and black, to her parents’ house until they find homes for them. “I’ve already got some people that are ready to take them,” she said.
Curry said anyone interested in offering one of the kittens a home can call 704-213-6993. Please do not call Rowan Family Physicians.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-7683.

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