News, Police/Fire

Firefighters don’t usually save cats from trees. A Lynn crew made an exception.

(Owen O'Rourke)

LYNN — Maria Soler got the best birthday gift she could have asked for when her nine-month old cat was rescued by Lynn firefighters after being stuck in a tree outside her High Rock Street house for three days.

Cutie had been stuck in a tree adjacent to Soler’s back porch since Saturday night and was rescued Tuesday afternoon.

Soler said the cat got out through a hole in her screen door — she’s not sure if Cutie was the culprit for the hole or if it was from her dog, Cookie — and somehow climbed onto her next door neighbor’s roof.

She said when her boyfriend tried to get him off the roof, Cutie instead ran into the tree that stands between her and her neighbor’s house.

Soler said it was frustrating to hear her cat crying each night, knowing that she couldn’t do anything to help him down.

She called for help for a few days, but things finally turned around on Tuesday when she received assistance from two local Good Samaritans, Brittany Gorski and Cassie Vitali Sullivan, both Lynn residents.

Gorski said her friend’s mother lives on High Rock and posted on Facebook that the cat had been up in the tree for three days. She said she happened to see the post and got in touch with her friend, Sullivan, because they always try to help when there’s an animal in need.

Gorski said after several calls to the fire department, crews eventually relented.

Lynn Fire Chief Stephen Archer said the neighbors had reported a cat had been in a tree for a number of days. Normally, he said the fire department doesn’t get cats out of trees anymore.

But since the cat had been there for a few days, and it was a young kitten that appeared to be in distress, the department “decided to veer away from policy and get the cat down.”

Firefighters responded shortly before 1 p.m. and crews from Ladder 2 were able to get the cat down, which was about 45 feet up in the tree.

“In general, we do not get cats out of trees,” Archer said. “Cats tend to get down on their own, but we made an exception in this case.”

Sullivan said she and Gorski had also called some tree service companies to help. Since the cat had been up there for three days, they were concerned Cutie was going to get weak — crows were flying around and the cat was really nervous.  

Sullivan said the wind was blowing the cat around up in the tree and he had to hold on.

“I was kind of amazed to see how it balanced itself up there,” Sullivan said. “It’s a young cat. It’s usually not outside. They can climb quickly, but can’t always find their way back down, especially with a younger cat who probably never climbed before.”

After the rescue, Sullivan said the cat was exhausted, panting, thirsty, and wide-eyed and shaky, but he also seemed relieved to be reunited with his owner.

Sullivan said they needed to secure the cat in a dog crate to get him to the veterinarian, and since her vehicle was large enough to fit it, she took Soler and Cutie to the vet. Soler’s boyfriend met them there with a cat carrier.

“It all worked out,” she said. “I think the cat’s fine.”

Soler said Cutie had a fever, but is fine now. She is thankful for all the help she received.

“(Tuesday) was my birthday,” Soler said. “I think it was the greatest present they could give me was giving me my cat.”

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