When we say we're "by cat people", we mean it. Our team is active in cat care communities around the country, and we're highlighting some of our personal efforts.
Check out Alex's story of how her mom helped to save a cat's life, and reunite them with their family.
Ok so to start with the story. On Saturday 5/30 I was on a "walk" with my mom. Since she lives upstate I call her on the phone and we both walk. Part way through our call she noticed a tree in our local park (it's also called Central Park lol) that had a sign on it saying there was a cat stuck up in the tree.
The sign says that the cat had been in the tree since 5/28 (we'd later come to learn she'd actually been in the tree since 5/24 - she weathered two huge rainstorms while in that tree) and the people who left the sign had called the fire department but they wouldn't come rescue the cat. The biggest issue was that the cat was about 60-70 feet up in the tree. There were branches were she was but the first 50 feet of tree were all trunk and cats can't climb backwards so my mom realized she was stuck. (Here is a picture of the tree for reference - this is later into the mission when the cat actually climbed higher.)
My mother was distraught. She hung up with me and immediately called some friends who she thought might have connections to bucket trucks. Then she tried the fire department herself, and unfortunately no luck. She spent the next several hours of her Saturday calling every tree service she could find in Schenectady County. But being that it was a Saturday and a holiday weekend, everything was closed. Unsure of what to do she went back to the park to leave food at the base of the tree for the cat. Later she was advised that maybe this wasn't a good idea so she went back and found a group of people in the park surrounding the tree. One of those people was our first hero: Robert Herzog!
Turns out my mother was not the only concerned civilian. Others had seen the sign and the kitten in the tree and put out the call on Facebook. It was this call that Robert responded to. Robert grew up on a farm around animals and when he heard one was in trouble he knew he had to do something about it. He had a rope and harness and was prepared to scale the entirety of the tree. But my father donated his ladder to the cause so that Robert could climb up about 30 feet before starting the climb with the rope. (You can see my dad in the gray in the picture above holding the bottom of the ladder). Robert attempted to climb the tree about several times on Saturday night, until about 10PM when it got too dark. Also the kitten got scared and climbed higher in the tree, so the team decided to call it a day.
They returned to the park the next day at 7AM. Robert, my mom, dad and some women from an animal control group. Once again Robert attempted to climb the tree. He reached the branches of the tree, about 50 feet up. But once up there he dropped his rope which was his only way back down. The team on the ground tried to figure out how to reach him but eventually decided the only option was to call the fire department. Turns out a human stuck in a tree is enough incentive. So on Sunday morning the trucks arrived and using the ladder and bucket they were able to get Robert out of the tree. While Robert was up there he managed to leave a can of sardines in the crook of the branch so the kitten could hopefully eat and if it rained they hoped the tin would fill with water for her.
Once on the ground Robert tried to convince the fire department to go back for the cat. At this point a crowd had gathered in the park, everyone in the crowd tried to convince the firemen to go back for the cat. The fire chief said "this is a 1.8 million dollar life-saving vehicle. If it gets stuck and then is needed (the truck was sitting on grass and could have sunk too far to move) well, I'm not willing to risk it." He also pointed out that the bucket could not easily maneuver in the branches, which was true. Robert was told by police on the scene that if he climbed the tree again he'd be arrested for trespassing.
After a disappointing day everyone headed home. Not to be deterred, Robert later called my mother and told her he had a friend with a bucket truck and that they were going to head back to the park on Tuesday. While we admired his spirit there still wasn't any assurance that plan would work.
On Monday morning I was on a "walk" again with my mother when she got a phone call from a number she didn't recognize. She was going to ignore it when I pointed out she had called a lot of companies on Saturday. So she picked up and met our second hero: Mark Moeske! Mark owns a tree service but he is also a professional when it comes to cat rescues, literally. He trains people on how to rescues cat's from trees! He told my mom he has a crane that he uses to drop himself in the tree ABOVE the cat so that it can't climb above him. Mark admitted that he's not even really a "cat guy" but he said "we gotta use the skills we have to help each other." (Here's a picture of my mom and Mark after the rescue, when Mark got the cat down they both cried).
Due to the prior day's issue with the authorities they knew they'd need permission from the cities mayor to take the crane into the park. Thankfully Mark knew Rotterdam's (a neighboring county) mayor. He called that Mayor who called Mayer Macarthy (Schenectady's mayor). They got the green light and they were off to the park!
In the park, another crowd gathered as Mark was lifted about 100 feet in the air to the top of the tree. Slowly he was lowered down. My mother and sister watched as the frightened kitten started climbing the branches down the tree to get away from Mark. She climbed down until there were no more branches. But I guess the man repelling from the sky frightened her more than falling because she kept trying to climb down the sheer trunk of the tree. She ended up loosing her grip and fell the final 50 feet to the ground, despite the popular phrase, she did not land on her feet. (spoiler alert, she was ok!)
The woman from the animal rescue rushed over to her. She was still alive and alert. My mom and the women from the animal rescue then took the kitten to an emergency vet to have her looked at. And wouldn't you know it, after a WEEK in a tree and a 50 foot fall, this kitten got a totally clean bill of health! (How many lives do you think she used up??) The entire time, the group had been discussing who would keep the cat. After the time everyone had invested everybody involved was more than willing. (My mom with the cat once she received a clean bill of health)
That's when my mom got the call, it was an "I think you have my cat call." After confirming with some photos they realized that they had in fact found the kitten's (who's name is Bae) owner! The owner and her girlfriend rushed over to the vet's office. My mom says watching Bae reunite with her owner was unbelievable, Bae ran right over and it was obvious how much her human had been missing her. Bae had been gone for over a week and a half at that point. She'd survived a week in a tree, two huge rainstorms and a 50 foot fall, but she was finally back where she belonged. My mom said that the entire weekend felt like watching her faith in humanity be restored over and over again.
Alex's mom would also like to plug this incredible directory of cat rescuers across the country.
[#BeginTLDR#]Over Memorial Day weekend, Alex's mom discovered a cat stuck in a tree and made it her personal mission to help.[#SplitTLDR#]Alex, our Senior Cat Concierge, kept the whole team updated through the process.[#SplitTLDR#]Keep reading for a happy ending. Maybe get a tissue box ready.[#EndTLDR#]