York County organization rescues cat reportedly stranded in Baltimore tree for weeks


An organization of York County animal lovers is looking like the cat that swallowed the canary after accomplishing something Monday that no one else had been able to do in the past few weeks: get a cat down from the 80-foot-tall Baltimore tree it had been stuck in.

Animal Rescue, Inc., a New Freedom organization that rescues animals around southern York County and northern Baltimore County, got an email Monday morning from concerned Baltimore resident Jewel Crum saying a cat had been unable to get down from a big tree for about the past month, according to Ashley Carlson, the rescue's director of animal health and welfare.

Basically: Curiosity hadn't yet killed the cat, but it might soon if no one were to help the kitty down.

After trying to scale the tree themselves, the locals had tried to get help from a range of sources including tree-cutting companies and the fire department, but nothing panned out until they contacted the York Countians.

Carlson said she found the email first thing Monday, rounded up some co-workers and volunteers through the rescue's Facebook group, and they headed south about a half hour later.

One of the no-kill shelter's Facebook fans called up Tree Health Care, which dispatched an employee, Chris Tattersall, to come scale the tree, which is located around Woodbourne Avenue. When everybody got there, the cat was hanging out on the tree's lowest branch, about 20 feet up, Carlson estimates.

"We were like, 'Oh, wow, this is gonna be really easy,'" she said.

The cat, which Carlson said meowed at them and looked unsteady but not noticeably distraught, had other ideas. When Tattersall tossed up a rope he'd use to climb the tree, the kitty played a game of cat and mouse and bolted to the top branch.

The rescue: But Tattersall eventually did reach the elusive feline, putting the kitty in a cloth bag in order to bring it down.

"He petted the cat for a little and then coaxed him into a bag," she said.

According to the organization, the cat did not have Tattersall's tongue - he shouted down the quip the situation provided him: "The cat is in the bag!"

Tattersall then brought the fuzzy little guy back down to terra firma without further incident; the kitty proved to be a cool cat - not a fraidy one - once he found the ground, Carlson said.

"He was pretty chill about the whole thing," she said. The rescue took about 20 or 30 minutes, she said. "He was very friendly, like he knew we were helping him."

They gave the friendly animal a little bit of food and water - "He drank for like five minutes," Carlson said - before taking him to an animal hospital in Towson, Md. The cat was found to be hungry and dehydrated, but ultimately fine, Carlson said. She's not sure the cat had been up there quite as long as the residents claimed, but she's glad they were able to get him down before his health really deteriorated.

"We were thinking about naming him Woody," she said, but then one of the hospital techs volunteered what everyone deemed to be a better idea: Branch.

The feline currently known as Branch does indeed have an owner, Carlson said, and she'd just gotten off the phone with him Monday evening. He'd told her the cat had escaped while they were out of town, and that he thought they were the cat's meow for helping the kitty down.

- Reach Sean Cotter at scotter@yorkdispatch.com.