Cat Rescue Demonstrates Unique Method
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
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
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.
Stephen Beebe and Brian Dennis pose with Tough Man after
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,