We all go to great heights for our pets.
A woman in Presque Isle, Maine, had to be rescued by firefighters Monday afternoon after climbing around 80 feet up into a tree in a failed attempt to rescue her cat, the Bangor Daily News reports.
“I just couldn’t believe she was that high up,” Deputy Fire Chief Rich Wark told The Huffington Post. He said that privacy laws prevented him from identifying the woman, but noted she was in her 60s.
Wark said the woman called 911 from near the top of the tree at around 2 p.m. It was fortunate she brought her cell phone with her, he said, because she was so high up that it was difficult to hear her voice from the ground.
At first, Wark and firefighter Jesse Bell were unable to even see the woman in the tree, but they ultimately pinpointed her location when they saw some leaves rustling. Wark said that when Bell went up on a ladder to bring her down, she initially refused and told the rescuers she wouldn’t leave without her cat, which was still in the tree.
The large black cat, however, “wasn’t having anything to do with coming down,” Wark said. Bell told the woman that they would go back up for the cat after they brought her down.
Wark said the woman collapsed from exhaustion after she got to the bottom of the tree, but is OK now.
The rescuers' subsequent attempts to get the cat down were unsuccessful, but the cat down on its own shortly after the incident.
“They always come down eventually,” Wark told HuffPost. He advised those who are trying to get a cat down from a tree to put food at the base and walk away.
ASPCA animal behaviorist Sharon Wirant agreed that cats will typically come down on their own, though she noted a cat may become stuck if the animal is "in a state of shock." Wirant added that "if they're frightened, they may stay in the tree until they feel it’s safe to come down.”
The deputy fire chief said his department gets around two to three calls a year asking for help getting cats down from trees, but in his 30 years in the fire service, “this is the first time I’ve had to rescue a person after a cat in a tree.”
Unfortunately, the last Wark heard, the woman was still trying to locate her cat.
This story has been updated with a comment from Sharon Wirant.