Jonathan Prest had to climb way up to the top of a dead red cedar tree to rescue a terrified cat, but he made it up and down successfully. (Facebook photos)

Jonathan Prest had to climb way up to the top of a dead red cedar tree to rescue a terrified cat, but he made it up and down successfully. (Facebook photos)

Tree cutter rescues cat stuck 100 feet up a dead and dried-out cedar

Jonathan Prest put himself in extreme peril to get a terrified cat out of a dangerous situation

Jonathan Prest thinks maybe the cat was testing him.

Each time he got close to that white kitty, it climbed just a little bit further, which wouldn’t be as much of a problem if they both weren’t already 100 or so feet in the air, clinging to a dead red cedar tree.

Prest, owner of Johnny 5’s Tree Services, has been in some precarious spots, but none moreso than this. The top of this tree was what those in the business call a snipe or a snag, a dead portion of a tree that was dry and ready to snap at any time, making this the most perilous of rescues.

He higher he went, the more he thought he really might die.

“My life is on the line,” he thought.

People think it’s firefighters who get all the rescue-my-cat calls, but Prest says he gets plenty. Most are more mundane. This one started with a frantic voice on the phone telling him about a terrified cat who scrambled up this particular tree on the far end of the Chehalis First Nation (between Deroche and Agassiz) on Sunday.

He was still there three days later.

RELATED: Fraser Valley agencies team up for dramatic rescue

RELATED: TV show spreading news of daring B.C. river rescue across the world

“Whatever chased him up the tree must have gone up after him, because he is waaaaay up there,” Prest thought when he got to the scene Wednesday night and looked waaaaaay up.

He geared up and headed up, hoping to lure the cat down with treats given to him by the cat’s family, but the kitty wasn’t having it. Prest tried every tactic in the playbook. Noises. Hand gestures. He even placed the treats in a fishing net to see if the cat would climb in.

He would not.

The only way the cat wanted to go was towards the very tip of the dried out tree, forcing Prest into a tough decision. If he followed him to the top, there was a good chance the tree might snap, and he wasn’t likely to survive a fall from that height.

“I don’t want to climb any further than I need to climb,” he thought.

But he couldn’t leave the cat where he was, so Prest took a deep breath and made his move, hoping the tree would hold.

And, hoping the cat would cooperate.

He’s never had a cat turn on him and start scratching and biting, but if this one did, an extra level of danger would be added to the situation. Prest had actually rushed out the door so quick to get to this call that he left his gloves at home. The last thing he wanted was to lose his grip on a squirming animal and drop it, but thankfully, this one was ready to be rescued. As Prest reached out and gently put his hands around the cat, it went limp, allowing him to safely place it in the bag he brought with him.

Then it was back down as swiftly as possible to reunite the cat with its loving owner.

All the anxiety he’d felt minutes earlier faded away as he watched the reunion, providing a reminder of why he does this.

“We need more kindness and love in this world,” he thought, as he listened to the cat purring away. “When you put your life on the line for another living thing, it’s quite an experience.”


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

Like us on

AgassizCatsHoperescue

Just Posted

Port Hardy council has agreed to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of the discovery of the remains of 215 children being found on the grounds of a former residential school. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Council votes to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of mass grave sites being found

Coun. Treena Smith made the motion for the chamber to not host Canada Day celebrations this year

Port Hardy Fire Rescue responded to an early morning fire around 3:50 a.m. on Sunday, June 13. Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street. Anyone with information is asked to contact the RCMP at 250-949-6335. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue photo)
Firefighters respond to early morning fire near visitor centre in Port Hardy

Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Dr. Prean Armogam hands over a cheque for $10,000 to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society president Rosaline Glynn. The money will be going towards a new roof for the Port Hardy seniors centre. This is the second donation Dr. Armogam has made to the society, giving them $5,000 a little over a year ago. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Doctor donates $10k to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society for new roof

This was the second donation Armogam has given to the society

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read