When officials are asked to rescue a cat stuck in a tree, they usually respond with “You never see a cat skeleton in a tree.”
But fortunately for Fern the cat, the Animal Rescue League of Boston has a different attitude.
Fern, less than a year old and an inexperienced climber, got himself stuck in the highest, thinnest branches of a tree early Sunday morning.
When senior rescue technician Bill Tanguay, a professional arborist and 10-year ARL veteran trained in tree rescues, arrived at the scene on Monday, he realized he wouldn’t be able to bring Fern back to the ground using standard techniques.
“The site of the tree was problematic, with a wooden picket fence and stone planters underneath. Sometimes cats can land on their feet if they fall, but this was dangerous,” said Brian O’Connor, manager of animal rescue services for the Animal Rescue League of Boston. “The last thing we want to do is try to save an animal but end up hurting it.”
Tanguay set up climbing ropes and improvised a safety tarp to catch Fern in case he fell before he could be retrieved. By the time the safety net was set up, it was raining too hard for the arborist to climb the tree.
That rain, however, ensured that Fern wouldn’t become dehydrated. O’Connor explained that while dehydration can be dangerous, cats can go a few days without food without suffering serious harm.
The weather cleared yesterday, and Tanguay was back at the scene and ready to go.
Subscribers to the Animal Rescue League’s Twitter feed were able to experience the rescue in real time, including pictures taken by O’Connor as Fern was being retrieved.
According to O’Connor, the Animal Rescue League retrieves about 150 cats from trees per year, but rescues rarely take three days.
Tanguay managed to return the frightened feline to his owners at about 11 a.m. yesterday.
“He seems to be healthy and unharmed,” said O’Connor.
[Source: Boston Globe]