When Whitney was in first grade our cat either heard or saw another cat outside. The window was up. She apparently pushed against the screen, it popped out and poof! She was gone. She was an indoor cat who had never been outside for many years to just roam freely. (She spent lots of time on the patio and outside with me when I gardened on a leash.) Whitney was inconsolable!
It was early afternoon. I looked for the cat the rest of the day on foot and by car until I could walk no more. I stopped looking about midnight when I was sure the neighbors would soon be calling the police because I had been calling out the cats name, loudly, for hours.
5am came the next day. I was out looking again. I called her name. Off in the distance I heard her answer. It was a faint meow. I continued to call and she answered. I followed the sound of her meows. She was in the next neighborhood high in a tree in someone’s yard. Pitiful meows were issued when she saw me. She was way up high in one of the massive oak trees we have around here. She might have been chased up there by another cat.
No amount of coaxing or food could get her down. At 8:30am the homeowner came out wanting to know why I was in his yard. I pointed out my cat in his tree. He tried to help. He got ladders from his garage that did not reach. He called his son who had some special extension ladder that would not reach. It was now noon and I had to go to work at 3.
The fire department was not to far away so I decided to go there and ask them to please drive their truck over to this mans house and get my cat. The fireman were TERRIBLE! Some were even RUDE! Not what I expected from Charleston firemen. They told me several things. “They could not do it because of liability. They might get scratched by the cat. The cat might not have shots (she did). They might accidentally damage something at the homeowners property. The cat will eventually come down because when do you ever see cat skeletons hanging around in trees?” I was livid!
I left and went back to the man’s tree and tried more coaxing. Nothing worked. The homeowner said he would go to the fire station and try to get them to come. 30 minutes later he came back and said they would not bring the truck and ladder.
I was done! I marched myself right back to that fire station this time yelling and hysterically crying! This time there was a captain there who was not there earlier. I let them all have it about the rudeness and being unhelpful and said I would be calling every news outlet-Channel 2, 4 and 5 and letting them know just how awful the firemen at this station treated people!
Suddenly one of them was telling me to calm down and asked where the address was. Really? Seriously? They could all of a sudden bring the ladder truck. I went back to the tree and the homeowner was still there coaxing in my absence. About 5 minutes later 6 firefighters showed up, extended the ladder, roughly handled my cat…..but got her down. And when I say roughly, the fireman picked her up by the tail and carried her down the ladder by the tail. There was no need for that. It took them 5 minutes to get her and drive away!
I did thank them. So did the homeowner. After the firemen left I was still a wreck so the homeowner invited me and my cat in. I met the whole family and has a glass of water. They were and are nice people. I added them to my Christmas card list and sent cards for about 4 years until they moved. We never saw each other again in person but I’ll never their kindness!
You will never know the tears of joy Whitney wept when I returned with the cat and placed it in her arms. I simply could not come home without her!