Community members “mew” and help Ypsilanti Fire Department and HSHV rescue 1-month old baby cat

Kitten rescue in Ypsilanti, courtesy Purple Walrus PressYpsilanti, MI (July 26, 2017) – On Saturday, the Ypsilanti Fire Department and the Humane Society of Huron Valley(HSHV) tried to rescue a tiny kitten who’d fallen down a storm sewer on Washtenaw Avenue. And on Sunday, they succeeded.

Witnesses say a man threw a box of kittens out of his car near Dom Bakeries on Saturday afternoon. One of the kittens—a girl—was scooped up by a bystander and, it was discovered later, brought to the Humane Society of Huron Valley. Another kitten—a boy—scampered across the busy street, immediately falling into a storm drain. The Ypsilanti Fire Department and the Humane Society of Huron Valley were called to the scene. The kitten was stuck between two sections of the sewer.

“We tried for several hours Saturday night, but there was a lot of commotion, and the kitten was really scared,” says HSHV Rescue Officer Travis Parsons. “He didn’t want to come near us. So I returned first thing on Sunday, hoping he’d be ready to come out.”

On Sunday, Parsons “meowed” down the drain—and his meow was returned with a “mew,” followed by lots of “mews.” Passersby stopped to help–meowing in various areas of the storm drain, so that they could eliminate echoes to pinpoint exactly where the little fuzzy, very vocal guy was. After that, Parsons constructed a “movable feast” for the kitten—a lifejacket float with fragrant kitten food, hoping to entice the kitten to hop on. It didn’t work.

Kitten rescue in Ypsilanti, courtesy Purple Walrus Press“That’s when I discovered he wasn’t food motivated,” Parsons smiles. “Turns out, the kitten hadn’t been weaned yet—he was barely a month old. So I needed another ‘non-food’ plan—and decided to try what we’d done for ducklings earlier in the year.”

Parsons called the Ypsilanti Fire Department in to help create a light stream for the kitten. Fortunately, it didn’t take much. Like many cats, the kitten didn’t like water, so he walked away from it—right into Parsons’ net at the drain entrance. Parsons took the tiny guy back to the Humane Society of Huron Valley for examination, where he was given a clean bill of health.

“He’s super healthy, super friendly, and there wasn’t a scratch on him,” says Parsons. “But he was so scared—unlike his sister who he was reunited with at our shelter. She obviously didn’t experience what he did, and was in her warm kennel, just rolling around as happy as could be when her brother arrived.”

Both grey tiger-striped kittens are being cared for by an HSHV foster parent volunteer in Ypsilanti, and they’re receiving ongoing medical care and monitoring from the Humane Society of Huron Valley veterinary clinic. In another month or so, it’s expected they’ll be ready for adoption—at which point they’ll be sterilized and microchipped. A Good Samaritan who called to initiate the rescue on Saturday has already expressed interest in adopting at least one of the kittens. And as HSHV has an “adopt-one-kitten-get-one-kitten-free” special, it’s possible she’ll adopt both.

Kitten rescue in Ypsilanti“We’re incredibly grateful to the Ypsilanti Fire Department, and so very appreciative of the people who look out for animals, who call us for help, and who remain on the scene to assist and celebrate cases like this,” says Tanya Hilgendorf, HSHV’s President and CEO. “Of course, none of this is possible without donors. And none of this is worth it without adopters.”

HSHV cares for hundreds of stray, homeless kittens every year. Currently, HSHV has over 150 kittens, many of whom are available for adoption. For more information on adopting a kitten, see To contribute to HSHV’s rescue efforts, funded solely by donations, go to


Kitten rescue in Ypsilanti


About The Humane Society of Huron Valley:

The Humane Society of Huron Valley, located in Ann Arbor, is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and relies solely on the generosity of our supporters to provide critical community programs and services. HSHV is an award-winning organization, recognized for our best practices and highest animal “save-rate” among all similar shelters in Michigan. Charity Navigator, the nation’s top charity evaluator, awarded HSHV a 4-star ranking, the highest possible. The mission of HSHV is to promote the loving, responsible care of all animals in our community. HSHV is not affiliated with any other humane organization and does not receive funding from the United Way. More information can be found on HSHV’s website ( and on our annual report (