PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A Presque Isle woman, intent on rescuing her pet cat that she thought was stuck in a 75-foot tree Monday afternoon on State Street, successfully climbed all the way to the top but then had to call the Presque Isle Fire Department to be rescued herself.
Richard Wark, deputy fire chief in Presque Isle, said Monday evening that the woman, who was in her 60s, had been trying to coax the black cat out of the tree for a while but was unsuccessful. Fearing it would go hungry or thirsty, she decided to climb the tree.
“She got all the way up the tree to the very high tiny branches in the top of the tree,” Wark said. “And then she looked down and realized how high she was. She had a cellphone with her, thankfully. When she called us [at about 2 p.m.] and we got there, we could hardly believe that she climbed all the way to the top of the tree. It took us a few minutes to find her in the leaves and branches.”
The woman had a duffel bag with her, intending to force the hesitant cat into the bag and then climb down. When the firefighters got the ladder up to her, however, Wark said, the woman was adamant she was not coming down without the cat.
“Even though the cat was frightened and hissing and clawing at her, she wanted that cat to come down with her,” he said. “We tried to convince her that it would come down on its own, but she would not go without the cat.”
Eventually, Wark said, the firefighters told her that they would get her down first, and then go back and try to get the cat down.
Once they got the woman out of the tree and slowly down the ladder with a safety harness, she was exhausted and was taken to The Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle to be examined, he said. Wark said he expected she would be fine. Under medical privacy regulations, Wark said he could not release the woman’s name.
The firefighters kept their promise, he said, and tried using the ladder again to get the cat come down.
The cat refused, but it came down on its own a short time later.
Wark said that the fire department encourages people not to climb trees after animals, and that cats normally will come out of trees when they get hungry. He also said that firefighters do not normally answer calls to rescue cats or other animals from trees or obstacles because of their other job duties and complaints from the public about it being a waste of resources, but he said that since they already were getting the woman from the tree, they felt it would not hurt to take another shot at trying to get her cat.