TWO animal rescue groups, the fire brigade and a tree surgeon all played their parts in a spectacular cat-up-a-tree drama played out on Torrington Commons. It all began around 8.30am on Wednesday last week when someone spotted the ginger cat 40 feet up

THE fire brigade ladder is not long enough to reach the stranded cat up the fir tree on Torrington Commons. Pic by Stuart Ford

TWO animal rescue groups, the fire brigade and a tree surgeon all played their parts in a spectacular "cat-up-a-tree" drama played out on Torrington Commons.It all began around 8.30am on Wednesday last week when someone spotted the ginger cat 40 feet up in the branches of a fir tree and called Stuart Ford at the Torrington-based Society for the Protection and Re-Homing of Animals.The morning was cold and frosty and it looked as if the cat had been in the tree all night. His coaxing came to nought, so Stuart decided it was a job for the fire brigade.But the fire service needs an official call from an RSPCA inspector, so another call was needed and RSPCA animal collection officer Debbie Ley arrived on the scene. By this time the sun was warming the chilly cat and he responded by climbing higher still!Debbie's added coaxing also brought no joy, so the fire service was called, duly arriving with a longer ladder. But even they could not reach the cat safely.It was decided to go away, give the cat some peace and leave it to come down of its own accord.But when Stuart returned mid-afternoon - with some smelly cat food - to see what was happening, he found that it had climbed even higher and was on the end of a protruding branch.Drastic action"It was making no attempt to come down," he said. "It had not had any food or water and it had become quite hot in the sun. And the cat was 75 feet up by now. "So Stuart contacted a tree surgeon, who gave him the name of a man who scales trees for a living. The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, happily rigged up his equipment and climbed the tree, even going as far out along the branch as he dare. But after several fruitless attempts to coax the animal it was time for drastic action. As Stuart stood with a coat outstretched to break the fall, the branch was shaken and the cat came down.It was caught safely in the coat, but still evaded its rescuers by quickly jumping out and running off towards Torrington pannier market, apparently none the worse for wear. By now it was past 5pm."We have no idea whose cat this was and I expect they have no idea how much concern it has given us," said Stuart. "If anyone has any idea of the owner's identity please give us a ring. I expect they would like to thank the man who climbed up the tree to save their cat. He wouldn't accept anything for his services and has offered to help with any future cat-up-tree situations we might have.