Rescue team saved 249 cats stuck in trees in 2014

Over the course of a year, the guys of Canopy Cat Rescuedangled from tree limbs to rescue 249 cats stuck in trees.

Brothers-in-law Shaun Sears of North Bend and Tom Otto of Olympia - both professional climbers - travel all around the Puget Sound area to bring scared kitties to safety.

Their nonprofit organization is funded entirely by donations.

"The most important part to us is rescuing the cat safely," said Sears.

And with years of technical climbing experience, they are able to safely rescue the cats without causing damage to the trees.

Shaun and Tom take a camera with them on rescues to take photos and video of the kitties. Both have a bit of "cat whisperer" in them and are generally able to calm the cats enough to get to them.

Here's just one example of the hundreds of happy endings: "Today we rescued beautiful Bella in West Seattle. She was stuck about 25ft up in a cedar tree since last night. As we were looking at her up in the tree, I saw a huge slobbery neighbor dog peering out of it's house. The dog seemed fascinated by what was going on, but I think he was actually trying to tell us "sorry" for accidentally chasing Bella up the tree. When I reached her, she had quite the grip on the branch...but she happily latched onto me. Her owner was super happy to hold her kitty again."

Tom said they are often asked why they do what they do. He says a semi-feral kitty named Henrietta Pussycat is why.

"After over 14 days stuck in a tree, lots of expensive quotes by other local tree climbers, and even being told by a local rescue agency that there wasn't anybody who could rescue their kitty, the owners had almost given up hope," he said. "Luckily the owners, through a chance encounter, found someone who knew about CCR and our services. I climbed the tree in remote Grapeview to find this kitty barely hanging on."

"After spending over an hour trying to get her to warm up to me, she finally sniffed my hand, knew I was there to help, stretched one paw out to reach me, and melted in my arms. It was one of our most technically difficult rescues ever, but also most rewarding."

Contrary to popular belief that cats can get down on their own, that is not the case. A cat's claws are made for climbing UP, not down.

A cat stuck in a tree long enough will become weak and dehydrated and will likely die in a fall.

Shaun says they are getting more calls as word of their service spreads.

"Folks will tell the local fire department, vets or share us on Facebook," he said. "Also, a few tree services will refer cat calls to us and we now will refer tree jobs to them."

A production crew from Los Angeles recently followed Canopy Cat to film a documentary about their services.

If you find a cat stuck in a tree, contact Canopy Cat day or night

Buy a Canopy Cat Calendar or T-shirt(all purchases go to help pay for the cost of rescuing cats)

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