Fire Department rescues cat in tree

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published June 16, 2016

 On June 9, West Bloomfield firefighter/paramedic Dennis Cole rescued Bella, a 1-year-old indoor cat, after she spent about 38 hours in a tree. The Fire Department doesn’t typically respond for cat-in-a-tree calls.

On June 9, West Bloomfield firefighter/paramedic Dennis Cole rescued Bella, a 1-year-old indoor cat, after she spent about 38 hours in a tree. The Fire Department doesn’t typically respond for cat-in-a-tree calls.

Photo provided by the West Bloomfield Fire Department

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — It’s a tale as old as time — a cat in a tree. 

On June 9, West Bloomfield Fire Lt. Matt Majestic and firefighter/paramedic Dennis Cole were dispatched to a house on Weymouth Street, near Cooley Lake and South Hospital roads, in the early afternoon. One-year-old Bella, an indoor cat, had escaped from her home and ran 40-45 feet up a nearby tree. The call came in as a nonemergency, as it should have, but Majestic said the owner was distraught because the cat had been in the tree for roughly 36-38 hours. 

The scenario of a firefighter retrieving a cat from a tree is stereotypical, Majestic said, but normally, the department does not perform such a rescue because cats tend to descend on their own.

“We’ve rescued dogs and deer out on the ice. … We’ve rescued other animals in different situations, but it (was) a first time for me to do the ‘cat in the tree,’” Majestic, who has 25 years of fire service, said. 

Cole and Majestic assessed the situation and, because the neighbor’s driveway butted against the tree, the circumstances allowed for a daring rescue. They backed the truck into the driveway and raised the 75-foot aerial ladder. Cole then headed up the ladder to reach Bella.

“When we got there, the cat, as often is when they’re up there for that amount of time, did not fight (Cole) at all,” Majestic said. 

Cole grabbed Bella by the scruff of the neck and cradled her until he reached the ground, Majestic explained.

“The one thing we do know about cats is the way their claws are, they crawl up a tree easily, but they don’t climb down easily. … This, guys, was truly a scaredy cat,” Majestic said.

After spending almost 38 hours in a tree, one would expect the cat to be “purrry” grateful for the helping hand of the West Bloomfield Fire Department. 

“If we’re able to help anyone without doing damage to property … or putting anyone at risk, we’ll do what we can do. Every situation is different. If people put some food at the base of the tree and they leave the animal alone, more often than not they will come down,” Majestic said.

Fire Chief Greg Flynn applauded his crew members’ support, but reiterated that the department doesn’t typically respond for a cat-in-a-tree call. 

“I want people to realize that the Fire Department really does take … all of the contributing factors into consideration and the overall wellness and happiness over everybody to make sure we keep people at ease,” Flynn said. 

Whether it’s assisting a heart attack victim or a family pet that is in trouble, Flynn said, the department is there to support the needs of the community.

When in doubt, Majestic said, people should call for help. If the situation is not an emergency and it is during business hours, residents should call the Fire Department’s business line — (248) 409-1505 — in lieu of 911.

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