How much do you spend to rescue a cat?

Cat rescued from a tree

This is about a cat rescued from a tree, in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. It took several hours of work by:

  • Seven firefighters with their fire engine and a hydraulic platform
  • Police and a police car
  • An RSPCA inspector
  • A road blocked for an hour

…to rescue the cat who had been up a tree for 48 hours. The fire fighters used their hydraulic platform and a ladder. The man on the ladder drove the cat higher up the tree into the path of the firefighter and RSCPA inspector on the hydraulic platform (a “cherry picker” device).

They grabbed the cat and got him down safely. The cat is a red (orange) bicolor tabby (tabby and white).

I am all for helping cats. However, the RSCPA say that a cat up a tree for 48 hours needs to be rescued. That is how I read the situation. They called the fire service. I wonder if they made the right decision. I love their concern and courageous work by calling the fire service and the police etc. – this was a no holds barred situation but I just wonder if the resources were well used.

This operation must have cost a lot of money. It is hard to guess the amount but I can imagine it costing several thousands of pounds in total. Could the money have been better used on supporting a cat rescue center?

My theory is that cats come down eventually. It sounds cruel to say it but you never hear of or see cats dying of thirst or starvation in trees. They will always come down.

Retrieving a cat from a tree can be hazardous. It can be more dangerous for the cat to try and rescue him than leaving him alone to find his own way down.

I am not saying cats should not be retrieved from trees. I think waiting a little longer and using a more subtle way of enticing the cat down could have been the answer.

Diverting Money to Cat Rescue

I am sure the fire service can work out how much in one year they spend on rescuing cats from high places.

What if they said they will not provided that service (some already do this) and pledged the amount of money saved to a local cat rescue organization?

They probably don’t have the authority to do that. However, new ideas change things. We want to save and help cats. Resources are limited. It is good to find a way to make the money go further for cat welfare.

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How much do you spend to rescue a cat? — 30 Comments

  1. Well yes I agree but if it were my cat I wouldn’t think twice after about 4 hours of seeing them stuck in the same spot. I’d be all for paying whatever it takes.

    • Yes, I see the point. It is a personal point. I am not sure public services are the way forward. What about local (neighbourly), on the spot help? Help that is self-reliant?

      What about using one’s imagination and intuition rather than calling in the big guns and scaring your cat?

  2. I agree with Marc, we can say oh what a lot of money and they should have waited longer etc etc but if it was one of our boys all that sensible stuff would go out of my head and I’d be on the phone begging for help if it got to even half that length of time. I’ll never forget when baby Jozef climbed high up the huge tree at the bottom of our garden and sat there for nearly an hour, we were frantic, though of course in the end he did come safely back down all by his tiny self. Where we lived previously our neighbour had a half Siamese black cat and one day he climbed scaffolding that builders had left up at a house that was being extended and he got right up onto the roof, our hearts were in our mouths as he walked up the slope of the roof to the ridge tiles and sat there but our neighbour said, “Oh he’ll come back down the same way he went up” and sure enough he did! Cats aren’t daft but that doesn’t stop us worrying about them.

  3. I say spend as much as it takes to get the cat back to safety. Not all cats make it back down the tree either, some fall and suffer horrific or fatal injuries, especially if people are involved in trying to rescue them who don’t know what they are doing.

    Caroline, money well spent, I hope the neighbour’s reimbursed you! 🙂

    • I agree with the others too, I think it was money well spent, each and every cat is as important as another cat and 48 hours up a tree is a long time for a cat to be stuck. A cat not eating or drinking for 2 days is in serious trouble, can suffer illness or death from organ failure. So, say they had left that cat one more day and he hadn’t come down which is probable that he wouldn’t because he must have been very hungry by then and would have come down before that if he could. So there would be a vets bill on top of the rescue, to pay for.
      If it was one of our cats stuck up a tree I wouldn’t rest asking for help until he was safely down, that’s for sure.

    • I agree that cat rescues from high places can be worse that leaving the cat alone and letting her make her own way down. It is quite a big decision to fetch a cat high up a tree. People can get hurt too.

      I understand the emotional need to do something. Charlie does not have the problem as he has three legs and never climbs.

  4. We humans are a strange species.In most First world Country’s including England stray cats are treated as pests and euthanized in animal shelters if unclaimed by owners.Worse, some pet owners unable to afford the maintenance of their cats abandon them in “Pet shelters” knowing that their pet could be euthanized if unclaimed.Yet,at the same time thousands of pounds must have been spent by the local “R.S.P.C.A” of Cheltenham in rescuing this cat, which otherwise if stray on the roads would have been branded a “Cat Pest”.Honestly, if this was my cat would have waited for it to descend by itself, only calling the fire-brigade if the cats situation was hopeless.Such instances also occur in India but it mostly concerns birds getting stuck on wires etc.

    • I don’t think cats are treated as pests by most people in England, nor euthanised in kill shelters in their hundreds daily, as in the USA. We have our Cats Protection with branches all over our country who are no kill and we go to great lengths to TNR feral cats and to rescue strays and rehome them. Some people may think CP wastes hard to raise funds on neutering cats on behalf of people who can’t afford it themselves, who shouldn’t really have got a cat if they can’t afford to neuter him/her. But that works out a lot cheaper than taking in and caring for litter after litter of kittens from these irresponsible people.
      Some people say the RSPCA PTS all cats they take in over 6 years of age whether healthy or not, this isn’t true either as we often see older than that cats in their Rescue Centres, needing new homes.

      • Some branches of CP may be no kill but I know of some who have a policy to automatically kill any stray cat brought in who tests positive for FIV or FeLV.

        Hundreds of cats are killed every day in the UK by the big corporation charities. I know we don’t like to think it, but it does happen.

        I would like to see these massive charities at least advertise their low cost spay/neuter programmes on a national scale. I would like to see them spend the millions that they have in their HQ bank accounts.

        Too much blame is apportioned to the little branches which are often separate charities operating under a franchise and paying the main charities a sum every year for the right to use the logos and the names. Sometimes these independent branches are run by brilliant, hard working compassionate animal lovers, sometimes they are not.

        The whole system is very messed up, resources flow into the HQs of the big charities, yet the independent branches of many are really struggling.

        • Being a CP branch co-ordinator is a very difficult job and as it’s entirely voluntary it takes a very special person like Marion of our branch, to do it and to do it well.
          Yes branches have to struggle with donations and fund raising to pay their way without much help from HQ, yet those at HQ can over rule the co-ordinators and have the final say about local branch things.

          • I didn’t question it being a very difficult job, yet I do question when a branch co-ordinator who orders 60 strays to be killed in one week.

            That’s without any word or interference from from their HQ.

            We haven’t got a good No Kill ethos running yet in this country. It will happen eventually, I am sure as we have so many good people dedicated to animal welfare. I think as a nation we need to own up and publicise the reality of trying to deal with 1000s of unwanted animals.

            Where there’s a will there’s a way they say.

              • I won’t mention the branch on here because I do not want to cause anyone who supports them and helps the cats to turn their backs on the branch and therefore the cats in need.

                The co-ordinator told me what was done herself.

                Many CP branches are brilliant. Like all satellites of bigger charities, it depends very much on the person running them. You are lucky that you have Marion.

            • Hi Jane, just got your email today, it’s OK, best I don’t hear any more horror this week, not coping too well with it all as my heart is too full of sorrow at the bad things happening to Chester and other cats and 3 friends much loved old cats have died too.

              • I was in no way going to relate any horror stories to you. I don’t do that sort of thing to people. I get no joy in the brinksmanship amongst some of those involved in welfare and rescue. It causes untold harm.

                Your in thread replies to me seemed to disbelieve what I stated about some CP branches and that I was making an attack on the good work done by an individual who you know personally. Nothing could be further from the truth.

                So, that’s me painted as a creepy email stalker now. A simple reply in email would have avoided that.

                Condolences and purrs to all those who have lost dear cats.

            • Sorry you took it the wrong way Jane, sorry I didn’t email you instead of replying here, what more can I say, I don’t want to fall out with you again, we are both on the same side …for cats…that’s all that matters to me.

    • We often see this strange dichotomy, saving an individual with great effort and expense while somewhere else thousands of healthy cats are being put into gas chambers.

      Ideally the cat world should be coordinated better.

      • Yes you are right Michael, it’s a very unfair world for cats but we can only do our best in our own little corner of it, also helping those cats further away when we can.
        It breaks my heart that that’s the way it is, not enough people like you, to care about them.

  5. Ahem. Firemen love to rescue kittens. old school.
    They love to put their equipment to use. Anytime they get an opportunity to test their well-maintained tools, they will. And kittens up a tree? Absolutely! like the good ‘ol days…

  6. In my experience, cats come down eventually from trees or roofs. However, 48 hours is a little excessive. No organization here would be willing to help, including the fire department. I would (AND HAVE) be climbing the tree or roof myself.

    • Good on you Dee for climbing up there.
      We were starting to think where we could get a 30 foot ladder that day our Jozef was so far up, he was only 10 months old and we were frantic. We didn’t know then how clever he is!
      Babz has been on a roof and I’ve been down a well rescuing kittens for CP, but trees are scarily high and swaying!
      It’s easier doing a rescue on the spur of the moment than watching and wondering if you will need to.

      • I think a cat would come down before that if he could because it’s too long for a cat to go without food and water, maybe a healthy cat would be OK but I wouldn’t risk it if one of ours was up a tree that long.
        Unless he was feasting on birds of course.
        But then he’d be accused of decimating the bird population 😉

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