A tiny kitten was rescued Thursday from an Oaks area storm drain by Santa Paula Fire Department personnel (left to right) Engineer David Leon, Reserve Firefighter Jason Clark and Captain Jesse Clark as well as Firefighter Bernie Arana (not pictured).

Cat hisses thanks: Firefighters
rescue kitten trapped in Oaks storm drain

May 21, 2014
Santa Paula News

On the heels of fighting a challenging fire in record heat Santa Paula Firefighters Thursday came to the rescue of a kitten that was trapped in an Oaks area storm drain.

On Wednesday SPFD personnel were among the more than 100 firefighters that responded to a blaze at Briggs Road and Highway 126. The blaze was whipped across the freeway by Santa Ana winds that made the 100-degree heat even hotter for first responders who were able to stop the fast-moving blaze and contain it to about 30 acres.

SPFD Captain Jesse Phillips said firefighters were notified Thursday, May 15 at about 7:45 p.m. that a kitten was trapped near the intersection of Woodland and Cliff drives.

Neighbors, said Phillips, had been unable to reach the kitten, “stuck in a storm drain culvert that goes to Santa Paula Creek,” just east of the scene. 

The residents reported the kitten had been meowing for quite a while and “They were trying to feed it and coax it out,” but the kitten couldn’t-or wouldn’t-leave the storm drain.

Firefighters finally came up with an ingenious plan: Phillips said personnel went upstream from where the kitten was trapped in the main catch area, and “Dumped a little bit of water,” into the system.

Needless to say the water got the kitten to scramble out of the storm drain where it was grabbed by a firefighter.

“It was a gray tabby, a feral cat,” that either from nerves or in typical cat fashion showed its gratitude by hissing at its rescuers.

Phillips said a woman at the scene said she was with C.A.R.L. (Canine Adoption & Rescue Center), a local rescue group, and she would take charge of the kitten.

Phillips said firefighters are not sure how the kitten wound up in the storm drain to begin with: “It must have slipped down the cracks... who knows where it went in!”

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