Cat Stuck in a Tree? Call These Tree-Climbing Heroes


Cat stuck in a tree? We all have a friendly mental picture in our minds of a firefighter rescuing a stranded cat from the topmost branches of a tree, but the reality is that most fire departments won’t even attempt to rescue a cat due to liability issues, and the concern that a call involving human lives might come in during a cat rescue. And police officers aren’t trained to climb trees and don’t have the right equipment to attempt a rescue.

I didn’t know any of that this past weekend, when I saw an online article in my local newspaper entitled, “Situation Catical for Tree-Stranded Kitty”, about a local cat who had been stuck 50 feet up in a tree for the last 3 to 5 days. After rejections from the local police and fire departments, I was distressed to find that nobody involved was actually doing anything to help the cat – just standing around and waiting for it to fall. I became deeply upset and began calling around to see who might be able to help.

Within five minutes, warmhearted local tree guy Tom of Coastal Tree Care was ready to roll, awaiting directions about where to go with his bucket truck to save the kitty. What a guy! While Tom finished his dinner, I was headed out towards the site to make sure his bucket truck could actually access the tree. Just as I was leaving, I got the call with the fantastic news that the cat had been rescued! Who was the hero? It turns out, there is an actual cat rescue service just for this type of situation. Who knew?

Cat in a Tree Emergency Rescue hosts a directory of arborists, wildlife biologists who climb trees, and others who have pledged their willingness to go out on a limb, as it were, to rescue local kitties when all else has failed. It’s an international list, and if you want to feel better about the state of humanity, go on over to their photo stories page and check out the photos of some of the kitties that have been successfully rescued.

The hero in this case? Giacomo Renzullo, a canopy biologist, scaled the tree just before 8 p.m. Sunday night and brought the cat down. According to The Arcata Eye, he said, “She wanted to come down. It didn’t take much coaxing.” Though the upper branches of the tree looked incredibly flimsy to me, Renzullo was able to get within a few feet of the cat and place her in a bag he uses in his work with eagle chicks. (Read more about Renzullo’s cat-rescuing adventures here.)

While looking at the directory, I was shocked to discover that Arcata has a higher percentage of kitty heroes by population than do most places. Of the 33 people listed in California, three of them are here in Arcata. Whether that’s due to the exceptionally fine character of our local climbers and biologists, or due to the fact that news about this kind of service spreads more easily in a small town than in larger cities, I’m not sure (probably a little bit of both!).


Spread the word!

The reason I’m posting about this today is twofold. First, if you know anybody around the world who climbs trees for a living and has a big heart, encourage them to sign up for the directory by contacting founder Dan Kraus by email at, or by phone at (425) 806-3845. Secondly, if you know anyone with a cat that’s been stuck in a tree overnight and can’t come down, check out this directory and see if you have a local climber who can help out.

While the vast majority of cats come down on their own given enough time, I’m heartened and pleased to know about these rescuers. I don’t know about you, but when I’m choosing a company to work with, I am more likely to choose one that I feel is giving back to the community in some way. And I’m kind of a sucker for cats. I leave you with one last cute kitty picture:


Kitty rescue photos from Cat in a Tree Emergency Rescue.

9 responses to “Cat Stuck in a Tree? Call These Tree-Climbing Heroes”

  1. Great article — reminded me of a similar rescue that happened here in Durham, NC:
    one of the Duke Lemur Center’s red-ruffed lemurs got stuck in a tree. She stayed there for two days.

    Ultimately, they got a tree-trimming service’s lumberjack to help her down.

    Different than an arborist, but with skills to safely climb trees.

  2. Great post! I have two cats that are supposed to be indoors but you can never be certain that they won’t duck out of the house and up the nearest tree.