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Important reminder: Feral cats and sewers

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Just a reminder for everyone who takes care of feral cats in urban and suburban areas: cats will sometimes take refuge from storms in sewers.

Several years ago, we had a severe snowstorm. Though my ferals had shelters, they weren't in them. I looked everywhere and repeatedly called them. After several minutes, I heard a muffled meow but couldn't tell where it was coming from.

Horrified, I realized it was coming from BENEATH the snow at the curb. In their panic, my ferals had gone into the sewers, trying to escape the storm.
When the plows cleared the streets of snow, they completely covered all sewer openings with several feet of snow. I had to dig my ferals out. They were ok, but if one of them hadn't cried out I would never know they were in there.

For feral caretakers in the northeast and midwest, please keep this in mind, especially after this latest blizzard to hit these areas.
post #2 of 4
Um, lots of people are going to quirk an eyebrow at this, but stick with me: this is important. The ferals were not hiding in a sewer, they were hiding in a storm drain. The sewer is connected directly to our pipes in our homes and businesses and only carries water waste. The waste goes to the wastewater treatment plant for processing. Storm drains collect rainwater and other water runoff from surrounding lands, pipes it underground, and releases the water at an outfall into the nearest creek or other natural waterway. This water never gets treated. This is important because a lot of people don't realize this difference, and dump their waste (motor oil, antifreeze, trash, etc) onto the streets and sidewalks, or even directly into the drain, and all of it ends up dumping straight into our streams and rivers. This is a major source of pollution. Even washing your car in the driveway is a bad idea, because all that soap and the heavy metals and stuff on your car ends up in the creek. Sorry for the non cat-related thread, but this really is an important thing to know. Some of you, including the person who posted the original comment, may already be aware of this, but I just thought I'd make sure. Um . . . . preaching is done now
post #3 of 4
The other benefit to clearing snow from the storm drains is that is clears the path for melting snow to get into the drains.

The plows always cover the drain opening in my cul-de-sac and several of us make a point to dig out the curb opening. If we did not, our little court potentially could become a small ice rink or pond
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for clarifying the difference between sewers and storm drains. As kids growing up in NY we always called storm drains "sewers", and I've used that term ever since. Everyone (well, at least in NY and NJ!) knew what was meant when we said "sewer". But you're right, there's a difference. I hope anyone who read my original post understands what I was talking about!
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