WILLIAMSBRIDGE — A Bronx animal activist risked life and limb Tuesday rescuing a 2-year-old tabby that had been stuck in the upper boughs of a neighborhood tree for nearly a week.
Missy, a 2-year-old cat, had been stuck in a tree by 1216 Burke Ave. for five days after climbing out of an open window in her owner Rosalia Ortiz's home.
"I guess she was chasing a squirrel or something," Ortiz said.
A group of people threw pebbles at Missy, sending her higher up into the tree, and every time people would attempt to come get her, she would climb higher still, Ortiz said.
Residents tried calling the fire department for help, but the location of the tree prevented them from being able to position their ladder to reach the tree, according to the FDNY.
Christina Abbatiello, who volunteers with the New Beginning Animal Rescue in The Bronx, told Pedro Rosario, founder and president of the animal rescue, about Missy, and he decided to come out to the tree and try getting her himself.
"If we don’t do it, who else is going to do it?" Rosario asked.
Rosario is originally from the Dominican Republic, where he said people climb trees all the time, but he had not climbed one in a while, so he was initially very nervous about his rescue attempt.
However, he eventually summoned the courage to start his ascent, rented a ladder to give him a boost and was ultimately able to get Missy down safely—although she did not seem that grateful to be rescued.
"I got on the tree," he said. "I climbed all the way up to the top, grabbed the cat, got bit by the cat, got scratched by the cat. But we got it down."
Rosario and Ortiz took Missy to the vet after getting her down from the tree, and she is now back home and resting.
Ortiz said she did not know Rosario before he rescued her cat, but she was very grateful that he had taken it upon himself to save her.
"He didn’t have to, but he did," she said. "He volunteered to do it. It was so nice of him because I didn’t even know how we would be able to get her down."
She has put screens in her windows that will hopefully prevent any future escape attempts from Missy but said the cat has not been back to the window since coming home.
Rosario offered up a simple explanation for why he was willing to climb so high up a tree to rescue a cat that thanked him for his efforts by scratching and biting him.
"It's alive," he said.