More than 10 years and 4,000 cats later, arborists Tom Otto and Shaun Sears of Cat Canopy Rescue continue to scale great heights just to make sure these kitties are safely returned home.
cat in tree
Credit: Courtesy of Canopy Cat Rescue

Few municipalities in the U.S. have regular services that rescue cats stuck in trees. That's why we at Daily Paws always celebrate when we hear stories about entire communities coming together to bring cats safely home, or utility companies that allow a lineman to raise a bucket for a feline in need.

But no amount of streamers and confetti can share our joy about the work of Tom Otto and Shaun Sears, two professional arborists in Washington. These incredible heroes have rescued approximately 4,000 kitties in 10 years!

Through their nonprofit, Cat Canopy Rescue, the duo takes requests from Western Washington cat lovers who either notice their kitty scampered to new heights and can't get down, or have a missing cat and wonder if it might be hiding among the tree branches nearby (or sometime even miles away). Otto and Sears say on their website that a lost kitty is indeed often stuck in a tree somewhere, and they've rescued cats as high as 150 ft., in almost every kind of weather. Like Pebbles here, who spent the night in a giant fir during a snowstorm.

This dynamic duo access their arborist superpowers and equipment to scale trees, slingshotting ropes high into the air. Prior to each rescue, they consult with pet parents to learn a kitty's name, how she likes to be called, and even where she might like calming scritches once they can give her a safe cuddle. A special net bag keeps her secure for the return trip to the ground. If it's an unknown cat they're saving, they use a microchip reader to hopefully reunite her with owners.

Otto and Sears also answer that timeless question, "Well, if a cat climbed up the tree, why can't she simply climb back down?" Aha! While some cats can get down easily, others need help. The shape of their retractable claws often makes reversing direction difficult. 

Although they might rescue as many as four cats a day, Otto and Sears don't charge for their expertise. Cat Canopy's motto is a noble one, indeed: "We are a free service for the community. We want every cat to have the opportunity to be rescued."

The two aren't always greeted as heroes, though. Some frightened felines, like Lila and Tulip here, might not be too happy about it when they see a stranger climbing up the same tree. The pros at Cat Canopy Rescue are not deterred, however. They didn't save some 4,000 kitties stuck in trees without having the right tools (and the right attitude!) for the job.

That said, most are thrilled (Daily Paws staff included) that two hard-working, high-climbing crusaders dedicate so much time to safely bring them back home. We honestly can't get enough of these wonderful rescue videos!

If you find yourself in the unlucky position of needing professional help rescuing a cat stuck in a tree, the Cat Canopy team operates within Western Washington. If you find yourself in a doubly unlucky situation—with a cat is stuck in a tree and living outside of Western Washington—Cat Canopy recommends finding an arborist resource near you through the Cat in a Tree Emergency Rescue worldwide directory.