In the Village of Lewiston, NY, Mayor Anne Welch closed Tuesday’s monthly board meeting with a feel-good story about a cat stuck in a 40-foot-plus tree.
“I live on Cayuga Street and, across the street from me, there was this tree with this cat in it,” she explained. “So, my next door neighbor comes over and goes, ‘The cat’s been in the tree for three days.’ I said, ‘Well, it’ll come down.’
“So, I went over, put out a can of tuna fish to try to coax the cat down, and left it alone. My neighbor tried to put a ladder up, and the cat went up farther. So, we’re just trying to let the cat be and, hopefully, it was going to come down. It was way up high – like 30 feet in the tree. So, every day, I’d go out and look; and every night I’d go out – day after day.
“So, now it’s a week. I asked the fire company; they don’t do that. … So I didn’t know what else to do. Another gentleman came along with a ladder and he was like, ‘No; that’s not gonna work.’
“I talked to (Department of Public Works Superintendent) Larry (Wills). I said, ‘See if we can get a hold of Rob Brennan from Arbor Tree,’ our tree guy that does the business in the village. I said, ‘See if you can get a hold of Rob, and if he would just come with his bucket truck, maybe, and try to get this cat out of the tree.’
“Today at 3:30 I’m looking up and the thing is up there trying to turn around on a small branch. It’s crying, and now it’s ripping the heart out of me. So, I said, ‘Something’s got to be done with this cat, or it’s just going to fall down and be killed.’ And all the cold weather, and the wind and the ice and the rain and the whole bit; I’m feeling really bad for the cat.
“Lo and behold, he gets a hold of Rob. Rob comes to see me. … He looks at the cat and he goes, ‘I’ll go get my bucket truck.’ So I said, ‘OK.’
“In the meantime, (Deputy Clerk) Donna (Vazquez) came over. … She was going to get a cat carrier. … And then my next-door neighbor, Al, he came out … and then my other neighbor, Jan Czech, she came out. We had a blanket; we figured, if the thing fell, we were going to pull the blanket. (Laughs) Can’t you see it coming down and, instead of going into the blanket, attaching to my face!
“So anyway, we’re all set and we had all these great plans, and then Rob came, backs in the driveway. … He had to cut the limbs back off of the tree, so he could get the bucket up.
“Now here’s the cat up there, looking at all this stuff, 30 feet in the air. … Rob and Jeff Tower, who works with him, they got in the bucket truck. And Rob said, ‘As soon as I get near this cat, it’s going to go; hopefully it will run down the tree, and not just off the limb.’ …
“So, with that, he started up, and the cat jumped to the other tree. … And they kept going, and then it started to come down. So, we’re like, ‘Yeah! The cat’s coming down.’ So we all backed up, and he kept going up, and he got above the cat; and the cat was scared right then; runs down the tree; jumps like 15 feet from the tree – and never stopped running.
“So, we’re like, ‘Yay!’ We were so excited the cat came down after seven days.”
“Just wait till you go back home tonight,” Trustee Dan Gibson deadpanned.
Welch replied, “If I wake up tomorrow and that cat’s in the tree. …”
“He’ll be up there eating tuna fish!” Wills said.
Welch thanked Brennan and Tower for their service – and for not taking any money.
“The cat’s down; everybody’s happy,” she said. “I just want to say ‘Thank you very much for coming to our aid.’
“It does take a village.”