June 26, 2017

Cat Rescue Demonstrates Unique Method
by Jon Stevens

on the ground
Cat ("Tough Man") reunited with owner Stephen Beebe shortly after rescue in "catch-alive" trap

When The Kizer-Beebe family cat went missing, its owners thought the worst.

"Tough Man hadn't shown up for ten days; we thought he was gone for good," said Joyce Beebe, Culp Creek resident since 2005. "There are lots of predators in the area."

Then a phone call came from Kirk & Family Mercantile, a family-owned grocery store just three miles down the road. Owner John Kirk was inquiring whether or not they could locate their neighbor, Brian Dennis, a local tree climber. Mr. Dennis was needed to rescue a cat that had been stuck in a tree for five days.

I thought it was strange that someone needed a cat rescued at the same time ours was missing," said son Stephen Beebe, "so I accompanied Brian out to the site."

The cat was stranded about fifty feet up a timber pine on the property of Culp Creek residents Dan and Lisa Gilmore. Dan's stepdad and mom, Jon and Marian Stevens were visitng from Palm Springs, California.

"We didn't know whose cat it was, but when it didn't come down after five days, we figured we better call someone," said Marian Stevens. "The Police and the Fire Department wouldn't come, so we inquired at Kirk Mercantile."

On entering the property, Stephen Beebe immediately identified the cat as Tough Man, his family's pet. Brian Dennis climbed the tree to initiate the rescue, but there was a problem. "Every time I got close to the cat," said Dennis, "it would just scoot up the tree a little further."

After climbing about eighty feet, Dennis had to abandon the rescue. "The cat would have just kept going up the tree until it wouldn't have been safe for the both of us."

Installing 
platform
Tree climber Brian Dennis installs platform in tree near where cat had perched for five days.

But Stephen Beebe was undeterred. He was determined to get his cat to safety. "I just couldn't stand to see it suffer," he said. "Besides, it's family."

And time was growing short. "When I got close to the cat," said Dennis, "I could see it was worn out."

Finally, after discussing the problem with family and friends, Beebe came up with a plan: building a platform in the tree so that a "catch-alive" trap could be placed on it. "I didn't know if it would work, but it was worth a try." He worked through the night to design and build the parts of the platform.

The next day, Beebe arranged with Dennis to install the platform. He gave the tree climber a cardboard template he had designed showing where the braces for the platform should be placed. The pieces of the platform were sent via rope to the climber, who installed it according to Beebe's plan. The "catch-alive" trap was set in place and baited with a dish of water, dry cat food and an open can of tuna. "We felt the aroma of the fresh tuna might lure the kitty down," said Dennis. As an additional measure, a string from the ground was attached to the trap's trip mechanism.

Rescue success
Stephen Beebe and Brian Dennis pose with Tough Man after successful rescue.

Beebe decided to stake out the location on the Gilmore's property in his pickup truck. "When the cat came down only two feet in the first hour, I thought I was in for a long wait," he said.

But when he looked up fifteen minutes later, his cat was on the tree branch next to the platform. To Beebe's delight, the cat went inside the trap. "I double checked to make sure Tough Man was in the trap, then I pulled the string," he said. His plan had worked. The cat was safely confined in the trap.

A phone call brought Brian Dennis back to the scene to retrieve the caged kitty. "It just goes to show what you can do with perseverence and a little ingenuity," spoke the tree climber, commenting on Beebe's plan. Stephen Beebe was just happy to be reunited with his beloved cat.

*As published in Cottage Grove Sentinel, July 4, 2007

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Using 2-D motion graphics, astrologer Jon Stevens offers an easy-to-understand primer on houses, i.e., what they are and how they add meaning to the astrological chart. View >>