If cats can thank their lucky stars, there’s a little white tomcat at the North Beaver Township fire station who must do it every day.
Named Forest because his near-fatal misadventure took place in a tree, the kitty has a temporary home among the firefighters who saved his life.
The drama began March 30 when the firefighters were at the firehall for their regular meeting. Assistant Chief Chris Snedeker said there was a knock on the door.
A resident reported there was a cat in a tree on Reed Road on the tree line along Hickory Creek. And a storm was rolling in, Snedaker said.
So firefighters took a ride down to Reed Road, only a mile or two away, while storm clouds gathered. They could see the frightened cat, stuck about 45 feet up a dead cherry tree.
“We tried to get him down,” Snedeker said.
The firefighters put a 25 foot ladder against the tree and then tried to coax the cat into a basket they were holding on a pike pole to try and lure the cat. But they couldn’t get the cat to jump into the basket.
“There was a lot of lightning by that time,” Snedaker said. “A storm was rolling in. We had to give up.”
But once the storm was over, firefighter Tyler Claypool went back. And he had an idea.
He brought a golf ball into which he had drilled a hole, then threaded fishing line through the hole. It took several attempts but finally he threw the fishing line over a high branch near the cat. Then he used a rope bag with a basket attached with a D-ring and was able to hoist it up near the cat using a pulley type method.
This time, the hungry, wet, cat recognized a good thing and jumped right in the basket. Claypool brought the little creature to the firehall and headed for Wal-Mart to buy him some food, litter box, treats and other cat necessities.
This past Thursday night, a fully recovered, even slightly chubby little Forest happily scampered around the fire station as firefighters again held their regular meeting.
Snedeker said Forest’s rescue was was the first time he’s been called out for a cat in a tree, although he’s heard stories from some old-timers.
“I thought it was a myth, but I guess it happens,” he said.
Another myth might be dying too.
“You know what they say – that nobody’s ever seen a cat skeleton in a tree,” Snedeker said.
But chances are this cat might have been the first. Snedeker suspects the cat was chased up the tree by something and got so high he was unable to come down. Some people said the cat was up there for two weeks.
While the department would like to keep him as a fire cat, the fire hall is rented out for many events and the chances are the cat could slip out onto the busy highway outside, Snedeker said.
So, they are looking for a permanent home for Forest and are advertising that he’s available for adoption. Anyone interested is invited to contact the fire department through their Facebook page.