Cat-Saving Hero’s Retirement Project

He’s rescued 147 cats since December 2014. Just a couple of days after retiring, Randall Kolb discovered what he would do in his sunset years: rescue cats stuck in trees. No, he wasn’t an arborist or climber; he was a tech guy with no tree climbing experience. He saw a cat stuck in a tree near his house. The cat was too scared to come down, and it took Kolb two days to find someone who could help. When he did, Kolb paid close attention. “When I watched him do it, I was impressed with how easy it was to climb the tree,” Kolb said. “I thought that was going to be the hard part. I decided I wanted to learn how to do that.” He found people to teach him the climbing skills, and bought or created equipment designed to capture and secure cats so he can safely bring them to the ground. Using a slingshot, he shoots a weighted bag attached to a cord over a limb. The cord is attached to rope, which Kolb pulls over the limb, allowing him to climb using leg-powered ascenders. He’s gone as high as 90 feet to recover stuck cats. Kolb brings food, which often is so alluring that cats will walk right into the cat carrier to get to it. The carrier is his own invention. Kolb cut a hole in the bottom of a laundry bag and sewed in a glove. He puts on the glove and pulls the bag over his arm, then picks up the cat by the scruff of its neck and inverts the bag over the cat. With set-up time, the fastest any rescue can go is 30 minutes. “It can take hours,” he said. “I’ve had rescues that have gone on and on for hours. That was when I was just starting and was a slower climber than I am now. “Sometimes, I may not have any good option except to wait for the cat to settle down and relax and see I’m not a threat, and then I can get the cat to come to me.” Although some people insist cats always can get down on their own, Kolb disagrees. Their claws are oriented well for ascending but not for descending face-first. Clearly, he said, cats wouldn’t remain in a tree for days without food and water and in bad weather if they could get down themselves. There are two cats Kolb has had to rescue five times, and he recovered one that was stuck in a tree surrounded by water in a swamp. “People ask me sometimes, ‘Isn’t it dangerous doing this?’” Kolb said. “I think yeah, it is. Driving over there is dangerous and driving home is dangerous, but the part in the middle is pretty good. I feel a lot less safe on the interstate than I do on the tree.” Watch the video below of one of his rescues, or read his rescue stories at catrescueguy.com.

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Category: Featured

About the Author ()

Mousebreath Magazine is an award-winning online magazine that celebrates cats and the cat-centric lifestyle. Editor Karen Nichols is a popular conference speaker and writer, whose current project is The Cat Scout Handbook. She is also the denmaster at CatScouts.com.

Comments (5)

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  1. Scout Mango and Moms Brenda says:

    Praise God for the Blessing of this man who climbs to find cats stuck in very high trees!

    Yes as a young child, my tiny sister her cat got stuck very high up in a tree!

    And his “Bag A Cat” invention is amazing! He should patent it and I know how to write a patent so he should contact me! By email!

  2. This man is a hero! What a great “retirement” project!

  3. What an amazing rescue my dad’s cat was stuck up a tree for 3 days eventually the RSPCA helped us. Wish we had a wonderful guy like Randall. Your one kind caring guy. Thank you.x

  4. Well now, this guy is the cat’s meow! Thanks for posting about him!

  5. Hooray for this amazing man and for all the others who rescue the kitties 🙂 Extra Double Pawkisses to them all 🙂 <3

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