Kind-hearted tree surgeon scaled up the 60ft tree in high winds
The RSPCA has thanked a tree surgeon who helped the animal charity rescue a cat stranded near to the top of a giant tree.
Seth Masters answered the charity’s call and climbed up the 60ft-high fir tree at a property in Townshend Road in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, to reach the stricken cat, called Princess, on the Friday before Christmas (December 22).
Previous efforts to reach the cat during high winds had failed and it was feared that the cat might have to be left until the following morning, 48 hours after she first scampered up the tree.
Fire and rescue officers, called in by the RSPCA, had been unable to mount ladders on the tree because of limited access.
But Seth, who owns Norfolk-based Iceni Tree Care, deployed his climbing skills to carry out a rope rescue, scaling the massive conifer to bring Princess down in a rope bag to ground level where RSPCA inspector Justin Stubbs and animal rescue officer John Woods (pictured) were waiting.
Inspector Stubbs said: “It was a very tall pine tree and the cat was almost right at the top. The fire and rescue service came out, but due to the height and the access to the garden being restricted they couldn’t get their equipment close enough to Princess, who managed to climb even higher.
“Seth was only too happy to come and help and he climbed the swaying tree. The top of the tree was swaying at least eight feet back and forth when he was up there. After some cajoling he managed to catch Princess, who was relieved to be in safe hands.
“The RSPCA can’t thank Seth enough as this was a very high and technical rescue, which without his genuine expertise the cat may have had to stay up there for at least another day. With it being Christmas and it being an urgent rescue, Seth said he wasn’t even going to charge the RSPCA for his work, which was a great gesture.”
After her ordeal, Princess was health checked before she was reunited with her owner, Sonia Wilkinson (pictured with Seth and Princess), who lives in the neighbouring property.
She said: “I am really grateful Seth was able to come and help at such short notice as he was Christmas shopping in Norwich at the time. I’d called out a wood merchant who tried using a couple of large planks of wood to help get Princess down without success and the fire service’s ladder was too short as it is such a tall tree.
“Princess is one of my four cats; I heard a commotion and three of them flew into the house, but not Princess who must have been scared by something. I then heard her miaowing in my neighbour’s garden and realised she’d gone up the tree.”
Seth said: “I was only too happy to help the RSPCA and Princess’ owner. This tree was way too high to use ladders safely in the conditions, but I was able to climb up using a rope and harness. Princess was stuck on a branch – I don’t think she could have got any higher.”
The RSPCA does advise owners to allow cats enough time to come down from trees on their own first and to try tempting them by placing food and smelly treats on the ground.
But if a cat is stuck up a tree for more than 24 hours, the weather conditions are particularly bad or if the cat is injured or very young then owners can call 0300 1234 999. The RSPCA may need to contact the fire and rescue service to ask for help if it is necessary due to health and safety implications and fire officers will often use opportunities like this for training purposes.
In some cases owners may be asked to contact a tree surgeon if the charity is unable to get someone to the cat or if the feline is stuck in a position where officers would not be able to help.