OLEAN — During a five-day period earlier this week, neighbors on North Seventh Street, and many in the community, tried to help with the rescue of a young cat stuck in a tree approximately 30 feet above the ground.
After days of people trying to help the cat, and the Olean Fire Department determining a rescue would be too dangerous for firefighters, the cat was helped to safety by a local arborist who learned of the situation in a round-about way.
According to Joan Carl, interim manager of the SPCA in Cattaraugus County, the shelter had been alerted to the problem of a cat stuck in a tree last Saturday. Carl said the cat, which is called Stevie and has an owner, reportedly went up the tree but couldn’t figure out how to get back down.
“A couple of different people tried (to rescue the cat) and they couldn’t do it,” Carl said.
She said the Olean Fire Department was contacted about the incident by the owner, but soon determined there was nothing they could do. When contacted, a spokesperson with the fire department said one of the officials with the department investigated the incident Sunday, but decided they couldn’t use the aerial ladder at the scene due to electrical wires near the tree.
The spokesperson said there was concern the cat also might jump to the ground if frightened or “knock a guy off the ladder” if rescuers attempted to help it.
Carl said that at one point the SPCA posted a notice on Facebook to see if there was someone in the community who could help the young cat.
As no one could have foreseen, help for the little cat came from a woman in Canada.
The woman, Kate Tinnerman, said she became interested in the incident when she saw the SPCA in Cattaraugus’ alerts about the cat on Facebook.
“Though I live in Toronto, Ontario, I have relatives in Western New York and immediately texted my arborist nephew (Garret Tinnerman) asking if he could help out,” Kate Tinnerman said in an email. “Fast forward to early evening the same day my nephew … enlisted a colleague (named Andy) and the two of them rescued the stranded kitty.”
Kate Tinnerman said what made the rescue even more noteworthy was the fact that her nephew had been working in an area with storm damage all week “where they basically were on call 24-7 for taking down trees and clearing in cases of emergency.
“So he was pretty tired and came all the way from Buffalo directly that day,” she shared. “He lives in Great Valley.”
She further noted that when her nephew, who couldn’t be reached for a comment, was enroute from Buffalo to Olean after work Wednesday, he reached out to the other tree arborist who said he would help rescue the cat.
Carl said the rescue of the cat by the men, and the concern of residents in the days leading up to its rescue, are encouraging to her and likely others at the SPCA.
“We certainly do have a heck of a lot of nice people around,” Carl remarked. “There’s a lot of bad people around, but there’s a lot of good ones, too.”