Photos

12 days and counting for Sylvester, 50 feet up

Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by Sam Owens After 11 days, Sylvester, an 8-year-old cat, was still stuck Monday about 50 feet above Davis Creek, despite the best efforts of residents to coax him down. A combination of safety concerns make rescue of the feline problematic.
Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by Sam Owens
After 11 days, Sylvester, an 8-year-old cat, was still stuck Monday about 50 feet above Davis Creek, despite the best efforts of residents to coax him down. A combination of safety concerns make rescue of the feline problematic.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As the waters of Davis Creek passed languidly 50 feet below, Sylvester the house cat meowed loudly and uneasily shifted position in his nook far up the trunk of a dead birch tree where he has spent the past 12 days.

“Our son did an Internet search and found a story about one cat that stayed up a tree for 13 days,” said John Cooper, who lives on Kanawha State Forest Drive near Loudendale. “I wish he’d come down before he sets a new record.

“We’re worried about him going so long without food or water. He’s been rained on, and it got pretty chilly last night.”

“It breaks my heart to hear him meowing up there, and there’s nothing we can do to get him down, ” said Cooper’s wife, Kay.

The Coopers say they have contacted the Loudendale Volunteer Fire Department, the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association, and consulted a tree service seeking help in bringing Sylvester safely back to ground.

“The fire department doesn’t have the right equipment and power lines are in the way,” said John Cooper. “The humane society told us to call a tree service and the tree service said the tree was dead and too dangerous to work on.”

Sylvester, black with a white chest patch, is owned by the Coopers’ son, Michael, a long-haul trucker who is now on the road. Michael built a framework of boards to access a section of the dead birch, but could not coax Sylvester into descending the tree. In fact, the cat panicked and ran higher up another fork of the birch.

 “We’re out here three or four times a day, shaking the cat food bag and calling for him,” said Cooper. “He sees us and meows to us, and sometimes he’ll move around, but he won’t come down.”

“He can’t seem to figure out that he needs to turn around and climb down the tree back-legs-first,” said neighbor Glen Cecil.

But Sylvester is not without experience in such matters…

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