River Forest residents call on tree service to save cat | Articles | News
Update: The cat was rescued on the afternoon of December 6th by Fernandez Tree Service, the same Chicago-certified arborists who rescued a cat from a tree in Chicago’s Galewood neighborhood in October. Fernandez Tree Service refused to take money for the rescue, according to an update post on the River Forest Neighbors’ Facebook page. The cat, a woman, was examined by a veterinarian. She has a fever but otherwise seems fine. She is taken in by Brett Gentile, one of the residents who helped with the rescue.
River Forest residents have been trying to rescue a cat about 40 feet in a tree in the forest sanctuaries on Thatcher Avenue and Hawthorne Avenue since December 5th.
Resident Irene O’Connor, who posted a post about the cat on a River Forest Facebook page, said she originally became aware of the problem when she saw two teenage girls trying to shake the tree, to bring down the cat.
According to O’Connor and resident Brett Gentile, police said they couldn’t help it. Neither the fire brigade nor the village’s public building authorities. They said they also called the Cook County Forest Preserves, which also couldn’t offer any help.
The residents left food at the base of the tree overnight, but on the morning of December 6th the cat was still up in the tree, screaming from time to time.
Residents hung tarpaulins and sheets between trees, creating a safe space if the cat fell or jumped. A resident went to the fire department personally to ask for help, but was informed that the fire department could not help.
When she returned to the forest sanctuaries, she climbed an 18-foot ladder into the tree next to the one the cat was in and then climbed a few feet further while dead branches cracked. She directed other local people to call 9-1-1 and said she was stuck and unable to get down.
When the fire department arrived at the scene, they said they would help her.
“I don’t come down until you have the cat,” she told them.
They said they had been instructed not to save the cat but would help her if she needed help.
In the meantime, a hawk circled over the cat a few times, worried that the cat might become prey, but also hoped it might scare the cat. Neither scenario occurred, however, and the cat got stuck in the tree.
A helpful man with a drone arrived. He suggested flying the drone close to the cat, possibly to get it to climb back down.
The woman in the tree came back to tighten the tarpaulin and sheets. If the cat jumped or fell in response to the drone, it would have a safer landing. The fire department left when the woman was on the ground.
A group of people held the tarps and sheets taut while the drone was flown near the cat, which showed interest but did not respond in a meaningful way.
The man with the drone, whom residents referred to as “MacGyver,” went to fetch a small crossbow with a weighted anchor tied to a rope, which he shot over a branch near the cat. This allowed him to pull the branch in hopes that he would shake the cat out of the tree. It seemed to work, but the branch began to crack. It was a big branch and the plan was abandoned out of concern for the people standing under the tree.
At 12:30 p.m. the cat was still in the tree while concerned residents discussed other options.
President Cathy Adduci responded to the Facebook post around 1pm on December 6th with the words: “The fire chief states that a fire truck cannot go where the cat is. The liability to the village is enormous if one Worker Outside Will Be Injured This is the Cook County Forest Preserve. The best choice is a private service that can do the rescue. “
Adduci also advised against climbing the tree or ladder and getting stuck.
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