Craigslist cat rescued from tree

4:30 PM, Jun 24, 2008   |    comments
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A man with a bucket truck for his tree-trimming company showed up Tuesday morning to rescue the cat, at 1st Avenue and Newton Street in southwest Denver.

The animal had been stuck in the tree for five days.

Matt Slaby had placed an ad on the popular classified Web site after failed attempts from several agencies to help him out. That prompted an article in The Denver Post, and cat lover Julia Morgan responded. She called Matt's Maintenance in Parker, and Matt Steppuhn drove 30 miles to rescue the cat.

"He brought his climbing gear, and it took the climbing gear to get all the way to the top of the tree," said Morgan. "He did a spectacular job!" 

"It wasn't really that hard, because I've been climbing trees professionally for 12 years," said Steppuhn. "I couldn't get all the way there with my bucket, so I just climbed out." Steppuhn said the cat started to back away from him, so he had to grab the kitty quickly.

Morgan said the little blue-eyed cat had no tags and nobody has claimed it.  She planned to take it to a veterinary service to be treated and neutered, and then return it to one of the neighborhood kids who asked to keep it.

Slaby said, over the last week he had called Animal Control, Alley Cat Rescue, the Fire Department, and other tree services. He said they either charge a fee or can't do it.

Morgan said she only paid Steppuhn for the gasoline he burned driving to and from Parker.

Denver Fire Department, Public Information Officer Phil Champagne said they don't necessarily have a written policy against getting cats down from a tree, but it does represent a safety issue for their crews.

"We generally have left it up to an officer's discretion," said Champagne. "When we go to help a cat out of a tree. Two things happen, they get spooked and climb higher into the tree or they get combative."

The Craigslist posting created a stir and 9NEWS  received several news tips. 

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