After 5 Days, Cat Stuck In 50-Foot Galewood Tree Rescued Thanks To Neighbors And Fernandez Tree Service – Block Club Chicago
GALEWOOD – For five days, the Northwest Side neighbors desperately tried to rescue a cat stuck in a 50-foot tree.
Storms and strong winds caused the cat to cling to the tree – and no one could get up high enough to help.
Now the orange tabby is recovering at a veterinary clinic thanks to the Galewood neighbors, cat rescuers from across town, and Fernandez Tree Service, a team of arborists from Chicago who rescued the kitten before it was too late.
The neighbors noticed a cat that was found on N. Neva Ave. on October 14, 1942. stood pretty high up in a tree. They weren’t sure how to get up there, and the cat seemed to be having trouble getting back down.
“We think maybe a dog chased it up there,” said Jessica Tapia, one of the neighbors who helped save the cat, which has since been referred to as a lullaby by rescue workers.
Concerned about the animal, the neighbors reached out to elected officials, called 911, and posted on social media to ask if anyone had a large ladder or a truck with a cherry picker to bring the cat down.
“We tried laser pointers and tried to put a basket of tuna up with a pulley system to make it jump into the basket,” said Tapia. “A bunch of construction workers came by with their rather tall ladders too, but the tree is dead, so not particularly robust.”
A previous failed attempt to save the cat on October 18, 2020.provided
On Sunday, as temperatures dropped in the rain, Tapia reached out to Autumn Ganza, who runs the Chicago Cat Rescue Castle Blackpaw. Ganza had used arboriculture services in the past to rescue cats trapped in trees and offered to pay the bill so someone could come by and help.
“It’s raining with a strong wind and the cat has had no food, no water, no protection for days,” said Ganza. “We all thought he was going to fall off that tree and die.”
By Sunday, two arboriculture services came with ladders and tried to climb the tree to save the cat, but, like previous attempts, these failed.
Desperate, the neighbors grabbed the fire station at 2323 N. Natchez Ave. When the firefighters arrived on site on Sunday, they didn’t have enough space to place their cart where they needed it, Tapia said.
“They literally laughed at it, took a selfie, and then left,” said Tapia. “I mean, the fire department came out all the time to save cats. Who didn’t grow up with this story? I tried to explain the situation and he said it just wasn’t worth it. He said it’s a feral cat so it doesn’t matter. “
With the cat still stuck to the tree, someone decided to call Humberto Fernandez, the owner of the Fernandez Tree Service in Garfield Ridge on the south side.
“I was at home watching soccer with my family on Sunday when one of my clients called and said that this cat was up in a tree and he needed help,” said Fernandez. “I said, ‘Sure, brother. No problem.'”
Fernandez got in his car and drove over to assess the situation and work out a plan. The dead tree is next to a power line and it was already dark by the time it was there on Sunday, which made the situation extremely dangerous, Fernandez said.
“I told Bill, the customer who called me, I would be back,” he said. “On the way home, I called my foreman Salvador Vega and told him that morning that we wanted to save a cat.”
Early Monday, Vega was in the truck’s cherry picking basket when it climbed nearly 50 feet to get close enough to catch Lullaby. When Vega could snatch it from the tree, Fernandez began to get him and the animal to safety.
“Obviously the cat was aggressive and bit on him,” said Fernandez. “And when the basket got fifteen or twenty feet, the cat decided to jump away and landed on someone’s shoulder.”
A neighbor stopped the cat from falling, but was unable to catch it. Instead, the cat jumped away and ran to an empty lot across the street.
Salvador Vega on October 19, 2020. He is about 50 feet in the air when he grabs the cat that has been trapping the tree since at least October 14th.
Tapia, her wife, Aimee Cabrera, and another woman named Gracie McEwen chased the injured cat and were able to get her into a cat truck and to a vet.
The cat had collapsed lungs and internal bruises, but no broken bones. It also has kidney problems, according to MedVet Chicago, which is likely due to being without food and water for five days.
The cat’s ears have been trimmed, which usually means the cat is part of a wildcat colony, Tapia said. The veterinary office will keep the cat under surveillance and give it oxygen and fluids while it recovers. They scan the animal to see if it has a microchip from an owner.
Ever since Fernandez helped save the cat, he has received calls from people thanking him for what he did.
“Well, it was the Christian thing. I didn’t do it for money and I didn’t want to get paid or anything, ”Fernandez said. “My goal was just to help. I haven’t thought about it twice. “
Neighbors were frustrated with the fire department’s response to the situation, but spokesman Larry Merritt said the crews did not have the tools they needed to rescue the cat at the Natchez Fire Station and the situation was unsafe.
The fire department doesn’t have an established protocol for cats stuck in trees, and these situations are handled on a case-by-case basis, Merritt said.
Lullaby is busy and friends at Chicago Animal Care and Control will take care of it. Donations for his vet bills can be made at fcacc.org.
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