Tree cat makes himself comfy after rescue

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Catherine W. Idzerda
January 4, 2010
— If a cat can get up a tree, a cat can get down.

That’s the conventional wisdom.

T.C. might just be the exception to the rule.

Late in November, Janice McGrath was walking her dog near the greenbelt on a Saturday evening when the sound of a distant yowling caught her ear.

It took her awhile to spot the gray cat stuck about 40 feet up a tree.

She set out tuna to lure him down. T.C. wasn’t having anything to do with it. On Sunday morning, he was still there, yowling away.

And he was still there Monday morning when McGrath went to work at Mercy Hospital.

McGrath, worried, mulled over the problem with her co-workers. She ended up contacting Jeremy McIntyre of Autumn’s Tree Care.

McIntyre is an International Society of Arborists certified arborist and knows the rule about trees and cats.

Several years ago, he was a finalist for a Madison firefighting job, and he told them about his tree-climbing skills, suggesting he’d be the perfect guy to rescue kitties.

They looked at him and asked, “How many cat skeletons have you seen in trees?”

But McIntyre’s an animal lover, and so is his son, Brogan, 4.

Every day after school, Brogan watches “Wonder Pets,” an animated show about three classroom pets who travel the world rescuing animals. He also loves the “Zoo Tycoon” video game.

McGrath’s call came at just the right time.

“I was on my way to pick up my son from Montessori School, and I was just a couple of blocks away from Rotomer Road,” McIntrye said. “And I had all my work gear in my truck.”

When McIntyre picked up Brogan, he told him they were going to combine their two businesses: Brogan’s Animal Care and Autumn’s Tree Care.

The little guy could hardly contain himself.

By now, however, McGrath was having second thoughts. What if McIntrye fell out of the tree? What if the cat scratched him and he needed antibiotics?

“I thought, ‘what am I dragging this man into?’” McGrath said.

McIntyre, undeterred, went up the tree.

The cat climbed up a little higher.

McIntyre climbed up after him, and the cat, recognizing a good thing when he saw it, got into the proffered cat carrier.

“His little boy was saying, ‘Daddy, daddy, you saved the cat,’” McGrath said.

Here’s the best part of the story: McIntyre declined payment for his services, earning him a place in the Parthenon of small business heroes.

T.C. didn’t say “thank you,” but McGrath brought the cat home. T.C. hopped up on the couch and went to sleep, right next to the family’s black lab, Jax.

A long nap on the family couch is as close as a cat is going to come to saying “thank you.”

The vet discovered an identifying chip in the cat, but the owner couldn’t be reached. McGrath also reported her find to the Rock County Humane Society, but nobody had called in looking for a grey kitty with tree-climbing tendencies.

At first, McGrath thought she would call him “Smokey.” Eventually, she and her family started calling him T.C., short for tree cat.

T.C. is good.

Lucky might have been better.

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