Three city Sewer Department workers climbed into a storm drain on Thursday to save a stray cat, which rewarded them by biting all three. Now they have to undergo rabies shots.
The cat was rescued about 8 a.m. after falling into the drain on Maxon Road Extension roughly across from The Daily Gazette.
“It’s just an open storm drain and the cat just wandered down in that,” said Deputy Fire Chief Michael Gillespie.
Firefighters received a call from a frantic woman who lives on the street and has been feeding the cat and other strays.
“The woman was all upset, so we told her we would look and see if we could get to it,” Gillespie said.
Fire officials called the Sewer Department, and three workers climbed into the storm drain. They got the cat, which was a little wet but no worse for wear, according to Gillespie.
The cat took off quickly and headed into the woods toward the Mohawk River — taking its eight remaining lives with it.
However, Commissioner of General Services Carl Olsen said the cat bit all three sewer workers, who now must be vaccinated.
“We have to see whether our employees have rabies,” he said.
The workers likely saved the cat’s life, Olsen said, as it wouldn’t have been able to survive in the drain once the next storm hit.
Gillespie could not recall an incident of a cat being caught in a storm drain. More common are calls for cats stuck in trees, which aren’t typically responded to by firefighters, either.
“We always advise people to leave the cat alone and they will come down more times than not. It’s more of a hazard to our guys,” he said. “The cat, you get anywhere near them, they run higher up the tree anyway.”
Firefighters also spoke to the woman about not feeding stray cats.
“But if she chooses to do that, there’s not too much we can do about it,” Gillespie said.
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