FRUITPORT — The cat watch count was nearing a seventh night when a Spring Lake couple volunteered to help a desperate Fruitport family get their pet out of a tall tree Saturday evening.
Hours later, the much-thinner black cat was back in Janelle Curry’s arms.
“We tried everything – food, treats, toys, water,” Curry said. But the cat wouldn’t, or couldn’t, make its way down.
Curry said they’ve had cats get out and chase squirrels into trees before, but she would put out a dish of food and the cat would be back on the ground within 24-48 hours.
This cat just didn’t want to come down.
Curry’s husband, Nick, tied ladders together to go after the cat, but Oviler – Ovi for short – kept going higher in the tree.
“I couldn’t find a person to help,” Curry said. “I called the village, different tree services and the fire department.”
Curry said only one person agreed to help for a payment of $150.
Randy and Patti Styburski were following the cat saga on Facebook as Curry’s neighbor, Neal Hamilton, posted what was happening.
“Randy had the equipment,” Patti said. “We just couldn’t sit by and not rescue it. We could not imagine not helping.”
Randy said he was planning to move his 42-foot lift vehicle from his property to another location that day anyway, so it made sense to help.
But after he saw the pictures of how high the cat was in the tree, he realized he needed to use his 55-foot bucket truck.
Randy said he has the vehicles for property maintenance, but was planning to sell the bucket truck. He was glad he had it Saturday.
Patti said she was ground control as Randy went up in the bucket, cutting away a few branches to gain access. He was able to talk to the cat, eventually pet it and then scooped the 3-year-old animal – claws and all – into a pillowcase.
Curry said the cat went in the house, ate and drank a couple of times, and then headed straight for the litter box.
“He seems to be fine,” she said.
On Sunday, the Styburskis stopped back at the house, located on Third Street across from Burger Crest, and said the cat seemed to be doing fine.
Ovi is a rescue cat from Heaven Can Wait, Curry said. His name was Olive, but Curry’s granddaughter renamed him Oliver. Curry’s grandson couldn’t say “Oliver,” so the cat became Oviler.