A Yellowknife resident says she was exasperated Tuesday morning after she was unable to find help trying to rescue a cat caught up a tree.
Laura Johns, administrative assistant with the territorial treatment centre on 52 Street, said she had called municipal enforcement, the fire department, the SPCA and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to no avail.
“I am very concerned for this cat’s safety and we are beside the Montessori school and the toddlers there are very upset as they think this cat is dead or going to die,” stated Johns in an email.
Johns said the unidentified cat was treed by a fox at 5218 52 Street at 8 a.m. Tuesday. The cat was finally lured down shortly before noon, but was on the loose as of press time Tuesday afternoon.
Owner Hannah Gouinlock, who lives nearby, identified it as her 10-year-old tabby/calico farm cat named Avery after the incident was posted on the Facebook group “Yellowknife Missing/Found Furry Friends.”
“I live very close and she kind of escaped and she has been running away,” Gouinlock said, adding that the cat avoids people and other animals. Recently, the cat had escaped her apartment for four days. “She hangs out off the balcony and I had noticed she was gone this morning.
“She came down from the tree and I understand was lured with tuna. She ran off because she won’t get close to people.”
When NNSL Media arrived on site, the animal had been in the tree and appeared to be attempting to sleep in the branches, roughly eight metres up a white birch tree on the fence line with Montessori school.
Ravens were cackling loudly and circling the tree as the cat curled up in the branches.
“I don’t know if it is stuck or if he or she is scared,” Johns said. “There was a fox hanging around our front yard for a while. Then we looked up and saw the cat and realized that is why the fox was there.
“I saw ravens and one landed on a branch right beside his butt. It had its head over top of it and I thought it would start pecking at it to get it down, thinking the cat was dead.”
Both Johns and Gouinlock expressed frustration and surprise that there was no service to help get cats out of trees.
“You’d think somebody would do something because cats are like fast food for foxes,” Johns said.
Dana Martin, director with the NWT SPCA said it is not the responsibility of emergency personnel like fire departments to pull cats out of trees, even though in popular thought and due to their ladders and equipment, that might be the first inclination.
“Honestly the trees here aren’t that big and cats can usually get out of trees when people think they can’t,” Martin said.
When asked, she said cats in trees aren’t an emergency.
“They’re not because no one’s life is in danger and cats will climb down when they’re comfortable,” she said. “Honestly I just don’t think a fire department – which might need to go to a people emergency- is the best place to call.”
Martin said a phone or utility company might be more appropriate, but cat owners should take a greater responsibility of ensuring the animal is 100 per cent under control all the time. And that means ensuring that cats remain indoors, she added.
NNSL reached out to the City of Yellowknife Tuesday to get its protocol for responding to cats stuck in trees, but was unable to get a response by press time.