WHITE OAK, Md. — After a stressful start to the week, a one-year-old black cat in White Oak was saved from a tree she climbed. She had made it 75-feet above ground.
The Haileselassie family, who owns the cat, live in the Dumont Oaks neighborhood in White Oak.
Noah Haileselassie, 21, noticed his small, black cat Tutu was missing on Sunday.
“I was honestly scared to death about the whole thing," Haileselassie told WUSA9. He said Tutu has a tendency to "zip out" the door when it opens, but she usually comes home at some point.
Beverly Carragher, a volunteer with Montgomery County Community Cat Coalition, said that some homeowners in a townhouse located on Crescendo Place called Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center (MCASAC) on Tuesday about a black cat who was stuck in a tree in their backyard. The cat had been stuck in the tree since at least Monday, which is when the homeowners heard meowing from outside.
MCASAC sent an animal control officer to the scene who quickly realized that the cat would not be coming down on its own since it was about 75-feet up. The officer called Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services, but, according to Carragher, the rescue squad did not have a ladder high enough to get to the cat.
The case was referred to the Montgomery County Community Cat Coalition, a nonprofit that primarily helps community cats that are unowned in the area with "Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) intervention."
Volunteers with the coalition were determined to save Tutu from the tree so they took to Facebook to ask community members for recommendations on tree organizations in the area, which led them to finding the Axcobar Tree Experts in Olney.
Axcobar sent two professional tree climbers to the wooded area where the cat was stuck. The tree climber was able to make contact with the cat in a branch 75 feet about ground.
“People think that [cats will] just come down from [high heights]," she said. "This cat wouldn’t have come down, this cat could've died up there without the help.”
As a tree climber was saving Tutu, volunteers from the coalition and neighborhood held a tarp below, in case the cat fell during the extrication. Luckily, the tree climber was able to get Tutu safely into a pet container and climb down safely.
It was earlier in the day on Wednesday that the Haileselassie family even realized it was Tutu who was stuck in the tree.
Noah Haileselassie said it was a relief to know where she was and that he “had faith in [his] neighborhood” that Tutu would come down from the tree safely.
Haileselassie arrived on the scene immediately after his cat was rescued and found Tutu "safe and sound ... inside a pet carrier."
“I honestly just felt thankful that my community was there for me," he said. "I feel happy and thankful.”
Carragher was also relieved that Tutu was saved before the forecast rain on Friday.
After Tutu was rescued, Carragher said she was given food and water and was taken to a vet.
Volunteers with the cat coalition were “overjoyed to get her down,” Carragher said.
"We have also helped get cats out of storm drains and other tight spots and our volunteers will generally try to help if at all possible," she said. "While our central focus is TNR, we do what we can to assist the community with different kinds of cat situations."
Now that Tutu is back home, Noah Haileselassie said the small black cat has been especially affectionate and has been eating well.