PHOTO: 'Bug' = One badass free-climbing kitten.
With an impressive burst of adolescent bravado, our young kitten somehow managed to climb 80' up a huge Tulip Poplar in the woods behind the shop.
Once he arrived at the tree top, Bug realized to his dismay — he did not know how to come down. Unfortunately for him, he also achieved this spectacular feat in the early evening.
I finished up in the guitar shop for the day. Removed respirator and earplugs, stepped outside and called for him. I could hear his mewing but my ears were unable to triangulate his location. Acoustics are tricky in the woods.
An hour of searching passed. As it became deep twilight, I was finally able to spot him when his eyes reflected the glow of my flashlight.
I called the local police and they sent five officers plus two patrol cars. Despite their impressive display, the kind officers were unable to take action...terrain is too difficult to get the fire department in to help...kitten is out of reach of the highest ladder or bucket...we needed a climber...
Laura called 6 or 8 tree service pros but nobody was able to come out that late.
Lead police officer suggested we run a series of extension cords out into the woods to the tree with a light and a radio and leave them on through the night. That would help mask the kitten's mewing and keep predators away. With temperatures ten degrees above freezing, hopefully Bug would survive his night in the tree top.
PHOTOS: Joey is a young 23 year old climber-in-training. Rich coached him through the climbing techniques and also how to handle the kitten. Rich has been working trees for almost 30 years and has done a number of kitten rescues during that time.
Sunrise the next morning finds me outside scaring crows away. Laura's working the phone, hoping to find a tree service. I stand at the base of the tree, coffee in hand, listening to helpless kitten mewing.
Little guy stares down at me, paralyzed with fear.
Cat claws are well adapted to climbing, however their pads prevent a headfirst return, forcing them to climb down tail first. Kittens lack the experience, strength, and judgment to back down. Especially on a tree of that size.
Fortunately Rich and Joey from Rich's A-1 Tree Service arrived on scene.
Laura and I wanted to take this moment to thank a local small business for helping us in our time of need. They sacrificed several hours from their packed schedule to perform the rescue, a true reminder of customer service, community outreach, and kindness — something we will gratefully remember. I hope we can return the favor one day.
PHOTOS: Bug the kitten is safe. Exhausted, dehydrated. After frantically seeking reassurance and eating a whole can of tuna, he curled up and passed out asleep. All is well.