Miracle the Kitten’s Miraculous Rescue
At BARCS, our team is our family. This includes our selfless volunteers and fosters, who dedicate their personal time to ensure that our animals are loved and our shelter runs efficiently.
One experienced foster, Susan, woke up one morning to discover that a newborn kitten was missing. This scare set off a chain of events that led to a daring rescue of the baby with the help of Mike, the BARCS Offsite Adoptions Coordination, and our community.
Thursday at Susan’s house began with a surprise. In the morning, she noticed that her foster cat, Mama Mona, had taken her two four-day-old babies out of their pen. Kittens stay in a pen when they are newborn for their own protection—so they don’t wander too far from their mom. It’s critical for newborns to stay close to their mother, who gives them protection, nutrition and care. If the kitten is separated from their mom, they could very easily dehydrate, become injured or much worse.
This had never happened to Susan before, even with all of the other moms and babies she had fostered; Mona must have been unusually adventurous. Right away, she was only able to locate one baby. Her family spent the next several hours searching for the missing kitten. Around 3 p.m., one of her kids heard the kitten crying under the floor.
The race was on.
Susan’s house has a crawl space that usually they all try to avoid, but her entire family was there for hours that day. After Susan had an idea of where the baby was located, they called BARCS to update them on the situation. Mike didn’t hesitate—he was on his way.
Before the group could take action, they had to determine exactly where the baby was stuck. When he cried, the sound reverberated and it seemed like he was everywhere. Having worked on these types of rescues in the past, Mike knew he needed an inspection scope. This tool could allow them to see clearly down each of the cinder block compartments and even between the floors.
Fortunately, there was a Home Depot about 15 minutes away. As Mike was checking out, the tool manager said he knew how important this was and its time sensitivity, so if Mike or anyone needed anything else, just call, and he would pull anything and have it waiting. As Mike rushed out of the store, the tool manager shouted, “Just go save that baby!”
Mike quickly arrived back at Susan’s house with two different inspection scopes ready to locate the still crying kitten. The tools worked like a charm, and Mike was able to get a clear picture of the kitten at the bottom of the cinder block shaft about five feet down. Half the battle was won by identifying exactly where the kitten was located, but the second half of the battle would be a tough fight to win.
Susan’s house is exceptionally well built and solid with very thick cinder blocks. They were about two inches thick, and simply cracking them and removing would not work. First, Mike and Susan tried reaching down the hole with grabbers, tongs and even something the fire department brought, but the tools were either too short or unmanageable. Mike even tried to excavate underneath the footing of the wall to free the kitten from below, but this failed because the cinder blocks at the very bottom of the wall were filled with cement and sitting on a very thick concrete footing. To make matters even worse, the baby was crying the entire time. It was good to know that he was still alive, but it was heart-wrenching to hear him cry out for help.
After every other option was exhausted, Mike and Susan realized the only way to free the kitten was to demolish the wall. This would have to be done carefully so no debris would fall down the hole, injuring the kitten. When Mike was inspecting how the wall was built, he determined it was not a load-bearing wall and that the mortar between the cinder blocks was weak and crumbling. This would be the access point. Finally, a huge break!
Mike started to chip away at the mortar to free the first cinder block, which came out relatively easily. The second block also came out with relative ease, but the job was taking time—the sun was setting, and they could no longer hear the kitten's cry. Mike, Susan and her family all felt the pain of loss, but no one was giving up.
Around 8 p.m., Mike once again fed the inspection scope down the hole and saw the kitten was not moving, not crying, and not trying to crawl up to them as he had done before. Everyone was devastated. Mike sat back for a couple of seconds to catch his breath when they heard the kitten cry once more.
Like a flash, Mike jumped to the wall and began hacking at the cinder block wall joint to free the last obstacle in their way to save this precious life. The block came free, and Susan’s daughter Maddy reached into the cinder block hole and pulled out the still fighting-for-its-life kitten. She handed the baby to Susan’s other daughter Meredith, who rushed to Susan, who was waiting in the car.
The kitten was treated at Emergency Veterinary Clinic in Catonsville for hypothermia and dehydration. Mike and Susan stayed in the ER with the kitten to make sure he would be okay. It was there with family and friends that everyone decided to call him “Miracle” for surviving so long without his mom.
As Susan said, “I don't know if we would have been able to pull off this rescue without Mike. In the words of my husband, “Mike is a machine.” He would not give up, and his intensity kept me and my daughters from giving up. There is still a hole in my house, but we could not be happier that Miracle is safe.”
As Mike said, “It was an amazing group effort that included a captain of a firehouse, neighbors with heavy tools, a Home Depot tool department manager, Susan’s two daughters who were right there to pull the kitty to freedom, Susan’s husband allowing the front of his house to get a hole knocked out, and Susan’s one senior dog making sure I was okay to be on his property. And most importantly, bravo to Miracle, who fought the entire time, crying, trying to climb up to us, all to let us know he was still alive. This is a win for ALL of us!”
Thank you to everyone for rescuing sweet Miracle!