A community rallied to rescue a cat stuck 80 feet up a tree for three days after a firefighter told the family ‘I don’t like cats’, according to its owner.
Alison Miles said fire officers refused to attempt a rescue after turning up twice to her home, with one officer saying they did not like cats and the other saying they did not want to “waste water”.
Two-year-old Buddy, a large white cat with black markings, jumped up the tree after animals in the area were spooked by New Year’s Eve fireworks.
When a dog chased Buddy he ran straight up an 80-foot tree nearby their home in Mottingham, southeast London.
Three-and-a-half days later a tree surgeon managed to remove a branch Buddy was sitting on, fall onto a sheet that was being held up by a group to stop his fall.
Despite being dehydrated and starving, he rolled, jumped up again and ran back into the house.
The cat, who belongs to Alison’s nine-year-old daughter Zoe, is now back at home recovering from his ordeal.
Mum Alison joked: “He’s Super Cat – it feels like he must have way more than nine lives.”
She said: “It was New Year’s Eve so all the animals were hating the fireworks. Someone’s dog chased the cat and he ran up to the very top of the tree.
“We phoned the RSPCA they didn’t even bother coming up.
We phoned the fire brigade twice. The first fireman, from Lewisham, said ‘I don’t like cats.’
“I was like, isn’t this your job?
“The second said the ladders don’t go up that high. I said to them, why not spray the tree?
“[Buddy] will jump onto the roofs and he’ll come down.
“But the firemen said, nah we’re not wasting our water it won’t reach that high.
“Well, me being me, I said, ‘when Grenfell Tower was on fire it reached high enough then.” He just walked off. They’re a waste of space.”
So instead of relying on the RSPCA and the fire services, the community got involved.
She continued: “We even had a boy climb onto the roof of this three-story townhouse to try to hit the tree with a ball to get him to come down.
“The tree surgeon didn’t get here until 7pm three-and-a-half days later.
“We honestly thought it might be too late at that point because his meow was really faint.
“We thought he was going to be dead by the time we got to him. Even when he was down, we didn’t think he’d make it through the night.”
Alison added: “It was horrendous because he’s not my cat, it’s my little girl’s cat.
“I had three nights with her crying that he’s going to die in the tree – especially with all the fireworks.
“The fourth night was the worst one – she wouldn’t sleep. She stayed up all night cuddling him, making sure he ate and drank. It was heart-wrenching.
“It’s been freezing, really cold, so we were all worried. Thankfully, he’s alright now.
“We Googled it and cats can only go three days with no water. When it got to the second day, we just thought we had to get him down to save his life.
“I know people might think, ‘oh it’s just a cat, but it’s her baby.’
Alison said she is angry with the RSPCA and Fire Brigade and has promised to stop monthly payments to the animal charity.
She said: “The RSPCA and Fire Brigade are a waste of space. I paid £20 every single month to the RSPCA.
“I’m going to stop it because they did nothing. We didn’t even get a follow-up phone call, asking is he ok?”
She added: “Thankfully, Buddy is doing really well. He’s eating and drinking. He’s still trying to get out and about!”
“He’s a very adventurous cat.
“When the tree surgeon chopped the branch and it fell, there were four guys down at the bottom with a sheet to catch him.
“He fell, and he rolled, jumped and ran. He’s Super Cat – that’s what we call him.
“It feels like he’s got way more than nine lives.”
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “A crew from Eltham attended on Monday and the officer in charge looked at all options.
“The cat was higher than the traditional ladders carried on fire engines and an aerial ladder would not have been able to pitch close enough to affect a rescue.
“Firefighters explained the situation to the residents, suggested a tree surgeon might be able to help and left so that they were available for another emergency call.
“Firefighters are animal lovers and two of the five firefighters who attended the scene are cat owners themselves.
“We’re very happy to see the safe return of the cat and the old adage of not seeing cat skeletons at the bottom of trees remains true.”
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “As a charity we have limited resources, and over the new year weekend our animal rescue officer was called to a number of critical emergencies, including four foxes suffering with injured legs, a swan with a neck injury, a pigeon with a broken wing, and six orphan kittens abandoned in a car park.
“She was in touch with the cat’s owner and understood that the cat did not appear to be injured, and a fire service and a tree surgeon were being contacted.”