Fire departments should rescue pets

Published 5:48 pm Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dear Editor,

The fire department in Pelham is not allowed to rescue a cat out of a tree because it will take time away from more important emergency calls; the fire fighters should be allowed to get a cat out of a tree even if an owner had to wait and had to pay a service fee.

It would be a comforting fact for cat owners to know that their cute furry creature has the opportunity to be retrieved from the branches, and owners who are very attached to their animal would be willing to pay a fee for this simple service.

We can all agree that a fire is a lot more urgent than some cat stuck in a tree, but why can the fire fighters not come after an emergency or leave the place where the cat is for a call?

Many people make the claim, “Have you ever seen a cat skeleton in a tree?” The answer is no, because the cat will fall out of the tree from exhaustion and die because it doesn’t have the coherency to land on its feet.

Others may ask, if the cat can climb up the tree, why can it not climb down the tree? A cat’s claws are shaped in a downward forward curved shape which allows for great use in climbing up trees, but it is not helpful for climbing down head first, which is the cat’s initial instinct.

The cat’s claws are made this way for hunting. Wild cats climb up trees to stealthily jump onto their prey from above and execute a kill.

Domesticated cats are not born with this hunter instinct, for it is not needed, resulting in the clichéd cat stuck in a tree.

Another thing is that kittens are naturally curious. All cats are curious, but kittens even more so. While some adult cats may end up figuring out a way to get out of the tree, kittens just aren’t mature enough. Think about how a toddler wants to get into everything, but could end up harming itself because it isn’t mature enough to know something is dangerous.

So you see, cats aren’t always capable of getting out of trees themselves. Pet owners love their pets and would appreciate it if they were safe from harm’s way. This problem needs to be fixed. What can we as a community do to help?

Dara Norwood