The other day I was coming home from shopping, dragging my grocery cart, when I saw a tiny black kitten under a car. It was maybe six to eight weeks old, and I had no idea if it was feral or somebody's lost pet; so I called softly, hoping that it would trust me enough to come out. It didn't. It got so spooked that it ran into the drainpipe that runs from an apartment building to the curb--a drainpipe maybe four inches in diameter, just big enough for a tiny kitten.
So I got out my flashlight and looked inside. The kitten was wedged into the drainpipe, which was blocked by a big clump of mud and dead grass. I had no idea if the little thing could wiggle out again. And the rain was coming.
What could I do? I put on some gloves and reached in after the kitten, and barely got hold of its back leg to pull it gently out. It seemed to be stuck somehow; but it finally wiggled free. When I got it out of the drainpipe, it panicked and bit me several times through the glove. I tried to get a better hold on it, to grab hold of its scruff; I was so scared I was going to hurt its little leg, holding it like that. But holding onto a scared and possibly feral kitten is tough, especially if you are wearing gloves, and the little one broke free and dashed away across the parking lot. I caught a glimpse of it near another building, but nothing after that.
I searched for a long while, and had a chat with a woman who lived in the apartment building. She had her beagle with her on a leash, and said she had seen the black kitten earlier that day and tried to lure it out. At least there is another animal person nearby.
I went home and scrubbed the bites thoroughly. They're healing now. That's a good thing; cat bites are serious business.
There are a lot of thoughtless college students around here who will adopt a cat, then dump it when they can't keep it for some reason or another. That leads to a visible feral population. I don't know whether this kitten was feral or just scared out of its mind; I think I would be scared, too, if I had run into a drainpipe and been pulled out of it by a total stranger. I do know I'll probably never be able to catch it again. We don't have a TNR program in this area.
But it did seem like a very energetic, wily little thing. Perhaps it will survive. I hope so.