North Carolina Firefighters End Four Days Of Yowling; Stubborn Cat Finally Leaves Tree

CHARLOTTE, Nc. (AP) -- The cat in the tree had not stopped meowing for four days.

Alice Yadon had called everyone she could think of to get it down.

Nobody knew its owner, and it seems nobody is in charge of rescuing cats from trees these days.

"Everybody put it off on somebody else," said Brenda Stedman, who lives nearby in the Olde Whitehall subdivision.

The thinking among officials today is cats descend when they are hungry. So the neighbors put out salmon. Other animals ate it.

"That cat's not stuck in that tree," said Charlotte Fire Department Capt. Barbara Beam. "It's choosing to stay up there."

The fire department doesn't usually come to the aid of arboreal-bound felines. But Beam allowed firefighters to drive a truck out to the house on Snow Creek Lane in southwest Charlotte Friday afternoon.

"I took pity," she said.

Two firefighters placed a 26-foot ladder at the tree's base, rattling it against the trunk. One climbed two rungs, then five and shook harder. Nothing.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Control Officer David Woody pulled up. His department had told Yadon to set out the food and call back in two to three days if the cat happened to still be aloft.

"Four days -- wow," he said.

The only thing his department can do is call the fire department and ask for help. "Obviously we don't climb trees," he said.

A second truck arrived with a 105-foot ladder, which was angled toward the cat, 70 feet above. It came up short.

"Now this is where it gets good," said a kid from a group of about 20 bystanders.

The cat, gray on top with a white undercarriage, curled tighter in a fork of the branches.

Firefighters Jesse Wooten and Kevin Warlick climbed the truck ladder. Warlick rattled a pole tipped with a spiked hook in the tree. The cat climbed higher.

The men attached a 16-foot roof ladder to the end of the truck ladder with rope. Warlick grabbed at the cat with animal control's catch-pole, a long stick with a loop on the end. He ensnared the cat and went to tighten the loop. Before he could, the cat leapt to an adjacent tree.

The men came down, set back. They paused to sign autographs for Tyler Griffin, 8, and Matthew Kugler, 6, before the truck was moved closer to the tree.

It was an hour since the first firefighters arrived.

This time Capt. Henderson Threatt and firefighter Dana Trantham went out on the ladder. Wooten and Warlick stood beneath the tree with a "blanket" -- really, a plastic orange tarp.

Threatt rattled the tree with the spiked pole and the cat clung by its claws. In the blink of an eye, the cat was falling, straight toward the wooden fence links below.

Thwack!

The cat just missed the fence and bounced off the blanket. It then tore away down the fence line and out of sight.

Yadon was glad the cat got down, but said: "Now I know why firefighters don't usually rescue cats out of trees anymore, because cats are so uncooperative."

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