Feb. 22--WENATCHEE -- Mr. Kitty's mournful mews wafted through the air from his treetop prison Sunday and across the street to his new adoptive home.
After two days, someone finally heard him. And the high-altitude rescue operation began.
"He'd been up there since Friday night," said Brad Klass who heard the cry for help when he came home from the gym.
He and his wife Tara had adopted Mr. Kitty and his sister Annie from the local Kitty Rescue about a month before.
He disappeared on his first night out of the house.
"Neighbors said they had seen him in their backyards playing with their dogs -- he's probably the friendliest cat you'll ever meet in your life -- but no one had seen him since after 7 p.m. Friday" said Brad. "We were freaking out, knocking on doors and showing pictures."
Mr. Kitty had run 50 feet up a fir tree off of Princeton Street and couldn't figure out how to get down. The Klasses couldn't figure it out either.
They tried putting food out to lure him down. They called the fire department, but no one answered.
Finally, Tara sent a text message to a neighbor, Emily Orling, who works at the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society.
Emily and her husband, Dave Elwood, mobilized.
A former search-and-rescue worker and self-dubbed amateur mountaineer, Elwood got out his climbing equipment, tossed a rope over the lowest branch, some 40 feet in the air, and used a climbing accessory called a "prusik" to form a foot loop to boost himself upward.
"I slinged myself into the tree with about 10 different anchors, because I was afraid the cat would jump onto me and knock us both out of the tree," Elwood said Wednesday, recalling the rescue. "It was all very safe."
The cat was about 10 feet above the lowest branch and didn't move even a whisker.
This forced a secondary operation.
Using another rope and pulley, the rescue team raised a portable cat carrier. Elwood edged closer and finally managed to stuff the feline into the cage and lower him to safety.
"I felt good I was able to get Mr. Kitty down, because our neighbors were very worried about him," Elwood said.
"The rescue took about three hours," Brad said. "It was really cool of him to do that. We'd exhausted all our other options. It was pretty impressive to look at. It was daring enough where I was a little bit worried, but it was pretty exciting, too."
Christine Pratt: 665-1173
Copyright 2013 - The Wenatchee World, Wash.