With rain and thunderstorms in the forecast starting late Tuesday, time is of the essence to locate a calico mother and her three kittens.
The feline family is believed to be in storm drains near the Double Oak Veterinary Medical Center off FM 407 near Chinn Chapel Road.
The feral mother cat, spotted several times in the past month, was captured by a veterinarian technician who realized she’d recently given birth to kittens. After walking around, the kittens’ mews were heard in a nearby culvert, said Chelsea Brandt, the head veterinarian technician.
Brennon Sweeney, a summer contract worker with Cross Timbers Water Supply, and a co-worker were contacted and stopped in to aid the veterinarian technicians on Friday.
“We went out and dug around and saw what the possibilities were,” Sweeney said after they first crawled in as far as they could.
The rescuers were able to capture one kitten and spotted two others, realizing the litter was about 10-12 days old.
Unable to dig further on private property after an owner requested them to stop, the rescuers decided to release the mother cat and kitten to ensure the survival of the remaining litter.
Dr. John Gomez, owner of Rapid Med Urgent Care Centers including the one on FM 407, lent GoPro equipment to the veterinarian technicians so that they could try to locate the family. Double Oak police and fire officials assisted in the search.
Dr. Bill Wood, owner of Double Oak Veterinary Medical Center, said they left a crate and food in the culvert, about 4 feet below ground level, with the hope that the mother would relocate her family there.
On Sunday, a group of 15 worked together for five hours to try to locate the little family after discovering that most of the food left overnight was gone.
Dr. Wood said the location of the culvert near a highway with no wooded areas nearby and the 4-foot drop would make it difficult for most wild animals to get to the food. But for a cat, it would be no problem.
Engineers, a University of North Texas physicist and others have lent their knowledge in the search for a solution to locate the felines. Community members have offered to bring food to the rescuers.
“We’re really trying,” Dr. Gomez said. “We really want to save these kittens. I’m willing to cover the costs.”
One of the veterinary technicians was lowered into the culvert and used a skateboard to pass through the area where the cat and kittens were first spotted. They were not found.
The next step, Dr. Wood said, was to call the plumbers.
“They can snake a line in the culverts to see if they’re actually still inside,” he said, adding the mother cat could have moved her kittens further west or even elsewhere outside of the culvert.
“The mother cat is just the sweetest thing,” Dr. Wood said.
The concern is that the feline family not be left inside the drainage system during thunderstorms like the ones predicted for most of this week, beginning Tuesday night.
“If they’re in the storm drains, they could drown,” Dr. Wood said.
Anyone with ideas on how to assist in the rescue can contact the Double Oak Veterinary Medical Center at 972-221-2275.
When asked what the rescuers needed most, Chelsea Brandt simply said, “Prayers. Prayers that she brings them out.”