Aw, poor kitty. It’s stuck way up in that big tree.
You have seen or read or heard about these incidents, maybe on a television slow news day.
They sometimes include a fire department coming out with a ladder truck and end with a fireman handing the rescued cat to a cute little girl down on the ground.
Yes, and in the real world, things are often somewhat different.
On Mill Street in Conway on a recent Saturday afternoon, a young cat was high up in a big tree — and it had been there four days. Young or not, this cat had a voice and sounded off day and night all those four days. The people in the two houses closest to the tree with the cat were fed up. They could not sleep. The yowling bothered them early and late. Something had to be done.
The cat was from a home close by, and the cat may have been young, but she had a litter of kittens. The cat’s owner, Brandon Musgrave, had gone into military basic training and left the cat with his dad and his sister, Elizabeth Imre. They tried a variety of rescue attempts, all without success.
The cat stayed high in the tree and kept yowling.
Multiple phone calls were made. One of the homeowners tried relatives and acquaintances who might have experience in such crises or at least some fresh ideas. Nothing succeeded. Then phone calls were made to the fire department.
Sorry, we don’t do that.
Phone calls were made to the police department. Sorry, not our problem.
All right, the cat is in a tree. Go to a tree expert for help.
Terry Collins answered the phone call. He is a tree service person with years of experience. He agreed to come to the Mill Street hotspot.
Yes, this was a big tree, and it was covered with ivy, one more obstacle to getting up on the cat’s level.
Collins strapped on climbing spikes and hooked a sturdy rope to his tool belt. On the ground were pulleys connected to the rope and a chain saw. Collins went up the tree with some difficulty. The cat moved way out to the end of a branch, far beyond reach of Collins or anyone else.
“I’ll have to cut this limb,” Collins told Kay Baldus, owner of the property with the tree. “Cut it,” she said. “That cat has to come down.”
Working a chain saw 20-plus feet up in the air is not an easy task. Every safety expert you can find recommends against it. But Collins is a tree man. He got the Stihl saw up and running, and the limb with the cat went down — right into the top of a nearby tree.
Patrick Moix was on the ground working that end of the ropes for Collins. “Just swing over there like Tarzan,” he said. Collins had a more workable plan. He worked another rope and pulley rig up, used it to get to the second tree and fired up the chain saw again.
This time the limb came down slowly and on to the roof of the house next door. The cat landed gently and took off running.
Collins came down, plopped in a chair and someone handed him a glass of water. He asked for another, then a third.
“I’ve been in this business 25 years, and this is the toughest job I’ve ever had,” he said.