Weehawken rescue crew frees kitten stuck in sewer drain

“Oh the poor little thing,” says Jennifer Miller, DPW dispatcher and assistant to Director Bob Barsa, referring to her first reaction upon hearing that the little kitten was crying.  “Then before I knew it they were coming back in to get something to get him out.”


There was a kitten trapped in the sewer drain.

“Within about 10 or 15 minutes Phil (Reeve, project manager for North Hudson Sewerage Authority) had dispatched a couple of his men with the right equipment to remove the grates,” Barsa says, of the rescue last Tuesday.

It was midway through two catch basins and scared.

“We tried some conventional methods by putting some food in the one thinking we could draw the kitten out — that didn’t work,” Barsa says.

So the NHSA brought in the pumper truck.

“This truck would normally clean out massive size mains, and what we did was just apply a little bit of air pressure and she came scooting out the other side, right into the net,” Barsa says.

The kitten was initially treated for conjunctivitis in the right eye at Hoboken Animal Hospital. Now that the swelling has gone down, he’s being given ointment and antibiotics for a corneal ulcer.

“It’s possible (that it’s from falling in the sewer) if he scraped his eye on something or got something in his eye and started scratching it,” says Veterinarian, Dr. Mary Raum.

It’s just a wait and see type situation, according to the doctor.

“We give them medications and then recheck in about a week and see how it’s healing,” Raum says, adding that going through such a trauma isn’t likely to affect him down the road.

“Usually kitties get over it pretty quickly,” Raum says.

Miller continues to foster him through his recovery.

(Other than the eye), “He’s doing much better,” she says of the eight to 10-week old kitty she nicknamed ‘Monkey.’

About The Author

Jillian has a passion for news, giving voice to the voiceless and telling stories that make an impact. A New Jersey native, she spent the past two years as a multimedia journalist/one-man-band at WTAP-TV, the NBC affiliate in Parkersburg, West Virginia, where she covered everything from meth busts to fracking to the homeless to a young man struck by lightening. She was her news director’s “go to health reporter” and also covered many education and political stories. She frequently interviewed the mayors of Parkersburg, Vienna and Williamstown, WV and Belpre and Marietta, Ohio. She interviewed OH Gubernatorial Candidate Ed Fitzgerald and OH Congressional Candidate Jennifer Garrison, as well as WV Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and WV Senator Joe Manchin. Jillian was a regular fixture at the local police, sheriff’s departments, prosecutors’ offices and courthouses. Many looked forward to her ‘Mom of the Month’ series. Her story about two women who lost their children to heroin was widely recognized, along with her much loved piece on the Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis band camp. In her free time... Jillian enjoys yoga, working out, live music, spending time with friends on both coasts and the Mid-Ohio Valley. She also loves to connect with the community, so feel free to say hi if you see her around, shoot her an e-mail... jrisberg@hctvnj.com or follow her @JillianRis .

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