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

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

(Big White Ski Resort/Contributed)
Big White’s big clean-up: Large turnout for post-melt mountain tidy

More than 165 people showed up to help gather the litter left behind from the winter season

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

(Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)
Delays expected on Lakeshore Road this week

Northbound traffic on Lakeshore between Richter and Barrera will be detoured for paving

David Larsen, left, and co-host Tony Peyton. (K96.3/Twitter)
Popular Kelowna radio host dies after battle with cancer

David Larsen was half of the longtime Kelowna morning-show duo David and Tony

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

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

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

Jane Linden
KCR: Volunteering keeps you active

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

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

Most Read