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Cat rescue ends eight-day saga

July 06, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- And on the eighth day, the cat was back on solid ground.

On Monday, Garrett Tharp of the Doctor Tree trimming business retrieved a cat stuck in a tree near Hagerstown Community College, according to the Humane Society of Washington County.

Tharp's wife, Naomi Tharp, said the couple looked for the cat after reading in The Herald-Mail about the animal's plight the past several days.

After getting permission from the owner of the property on which the tree sits, Garrett Tharp used ropes to climb up. At first, the cat went higher to get away, but Tharp eventually got to the animal, grabbed it and put it in a pet carrier she tied to a rope, Naomi Tharp said.

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Humane Society spokeswoman Katherine Cooker said the cat was taken to a veterinarian for an examination. She said she had no information about its condition.

"The vet will have to determine if it's healthy or not," she said.

Lynda Dominick, who lives nearby in the Brandywine complex, first noticed the cat in the tree on June 29.

She said her daughter saw the cat after it was rescued Monday and it looked to be in good condition.

She said she's glad the cat won't spend another night crying in the tree.

Dominick contacted the Humane Society on June 29. She called The Herald-Mail two days later when she thought the Humane Society wasn't paying enough attention.

On July 1, according to Dominick, a Humane Society officer stood on a 6-foot fence near her home and tried to use an extended pole to get the cat, but the animal retreated up the tree.

Two days later, the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. also tried and couldn't get the cat, Dominick said.

The episode ended with Monday's rescue, which Naomi Tharp said took about 30 minutes.

She was at the base of the tree and heard the cat cry when her husband reached it, about 40 to 50 feet in the air, she said, but the cat didn't scratch him.

Naomi Tharp said she and her husband didn't call the Humane Society, but the Humane Society was there when he caught the cat.

Last week, the Humane Society advised people to let the cat come down on its own, suggesting that three days usually is when hunger outweighs fear.

"Our experience has been that cats will come down from a tree if given enough time and if they are left alone," Paul Miller, the Humane Society's executive director, said in a news release Monday.

But, he added, "Due to the amount of activity in the proximity of the tree, we felt it would be in the best interest of the cat to take a chance and have someone try to retrieve it. We were very concerned that the cat would panic and jump out of the tree, as is frequently the case. We feel very lucky that didn't happen."

The news release continues, "The HSWC wants cat owners to be aware that this is a good example of why cats should be exclusively indoor cats. Becoming stranded in a tree is one of the many hazards a cat faces when outside. A safe cat is one that is kept inside."

Cooker said the cat won't be available for adoption until after a five-day waiting period for strays is over and an evaluation is done.

The Humane Society has heard from people interested in adopting the cat, she said.

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