Journalism / New Haven Register

North Branford cat tale over — maybe

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
April 26, 2008

NORTH BRANFORD — The good news: The cat is out of the tree.

The bad news: It ran off once its paws touched solid ground.

Timmy Sommo, the owner of the property where a cat had been stuck in a tree for nearly a week, said a friend who owns Ted’s Tree Removal and Landscaping reached the brown tabby using a bucket truck Friday.

But in the process of transferring the cat from a bag to a carrying crate, it escaped and ran away, heading west across Branford Road.

“The cat scooted away — we haven’t seen it since,” Sommo said.

Friday’s events followed two failed rescue attempts Thursday, when the cat moved onto high branches out of reach of a climber and a different bucket truck.

Local residents first noticed the cat in the tree April 19.

Branford Animal Control Officer Pam Medlyn, who was at the home Friday, said the cat looked relatively healthy, and she believes it is feral. No one in the neighborhood has come forward to claim it and it was not wearing a collar.

“He was a little disoriented,” she said. “I would guess that the cat was definitely feral because when he put it in the bag, it was crazy. The bag was shaking all over the place, the boom was shaking.”

She added that the cat headed in the direction of a local feral cat colony, although she cannot be sure exactly where it went.

“He probably went back to wherever he normally was getting food from,” she said. “I’m sure he’s going to be OK — he survived that long.”

Sommo said that a local woman is “98 percent sure” that the cat is a stray that she has been feeding and that went missing. But the woman was unable to identify the cat while it was 60 feet off the ground, and she was not there when it was brought down from the tree.

Pam Cramer, a neighbor who put a note on the craigslist.org Web site several days ago asking for help in rescuing the cat, said she is glad the situation has been resolved.

“I’m thrilled the cat’s out of the tree, I just didn’t want to upset the neighbors that much,” Cramer said.

The story gained media attention after the Sommos initially said they did not want anyone attempting to rescue the cat because of concerns that they would be liable if a climber were injured. Those worries were defused Thursday after people attempting to reach the cat signed liability waivers.

Stephanie Maselli, who works with Halfway Home Rescue and was at the home Thursday, said her organization is not currently working to find the cat.

“There’s not really a whole lot we can do unless there’s a sighting of some kind,” Maselli said. “We’re happy to go out and set a trap if there’s a location where the cat is being seen.”

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