By Barbara Batt
On Monday at around 12:30 p.m. in Logan Lake a small cat named Benny was rescued from nearly 50 feet up in a tree.
Benny had been stuck for nearly five days in 30 degree weather.
Benny’s owner, Corey O’Garr, along with her neighbor, made an attempt at climbing the tree but the branches were too weak and far apart, so she retreated.
After hearing about the situation on Facebook, I went over and attempted to climb the tree with the same conclusion.
Corey indicated to me that she tried the Logan Lake Fire Department and they refused saying that they don’t provide that type of service. I suggested she try BC Hydro.
Later, BC Hydro said they don’t rescue pets. The SPCA said Benny would come down when desperate enough.
It had been three days, by this point, that Benny had been up in the tree with no food or water with temperatures being 30 plus degrees. Corey and I were very concerned with dehydration and we were starting to get desperate.
A family friend, Maurice Cephas, heard about the situation from his daughter and phoned my parents to find out what was happening.
He obliged, being a member of the Volunteer Fire Department. Maurice approached the tree equipped with a harness, rope, and a large fish net. He climbed the tree and made it up to about 35 feet when Benny started going to him from about 15 or 20 feet up. Benny made it within reach of the net but was frightened by it and went back up the tree out of reach. At this point it was too dark to do anything else.
In the morning, Corey decided it would be best to leave Benny alone and wait it out, hoping Benny would eventually come down. It is day four at this time. I came up with an idea of having Maurice go back up to the tree to secure a cat crate to a branch with some food as high as he could reach. I thought if the food was closer to Benny that she would come down to the crate and stay there overnight. Then Maurice or someone else could go up the ladder and lower the crate down with a rope.
Benny did not go near the crate. Finally, after hearing that Benny was still in the tree in her fifth day, my brother-in-law, Jaron Redman offered to go up the tree and get Benny.
Jaron is an avid rock climber and I figured he would be best experienced and qualified to climb a tree with weak branches with his harnesses and straps. Jaron made it up the tree and Benny came down two or three branches to meet him. The only hiccup in the rescue was that Jaron had nothing to hold Benny with. A hiker, Todd Paulmert, just happened to enter the scene at the right time. He had a backpack and offered to lend his backpack to Jaron. Todd climbed up the 30 ft. ladder and a few branches to reach Jaron with his backpack. The pack appeared a bit too small to easily squeeze the cat into, but luckily there was a pillowcase at the top of the ladder. Todd retrieved the pillowcase, Jaron dropped Benny in to the pillowcase and put them into the backpack. Todd put the pack on his back and came down the ladder.
Benny was finally safe and sound, although very distressed and dehydrated. Today, she is doing fine.