Liberation for Libby

20:46, Sep 06 2012
Sandy Mullaly
Purr-fectly safe now: Sandy Mullaly snuggles Libby after the cat’s rescue from a tree, where she had been stuck for three days.

A cat stuck in a tree for nearly three days in Kaikoura was finally rescued on Thursday morning with the help of a cherry picker.

Sandy Mullaly noticed her 2-year-old cat Libby was missing on Tuesday when she went home for lunch.

Libby had been rescued from the dump when she was about two months old and, as a wild cat, was timid and generally stayed around the house, Sandy said.

Cat in a tree
First attempt: Kaikoura firefighters make an unsuccessful attempt to rescue Libby with a ladder.

She started to worry when Libby had not turned up the following day and began searching Avoca St for any sign of her.

After hearing some loud meowing coming from a palm tree about four houses along from her home, she returned with a tin of cat food to entice Libby down, but the cat would not be tempted.

"It is quite a huge tree. Going up is fine, but then when you climb in, it looks like a direct fall."


She called the vet, who did not know what to do, so tried the police, who called the fire brigade.

"I didn't want to dial 111 because that's a bit silly."

A crew from the Kaikoura Volunteer Fire Brigade arrived about 4.20pm and put up a ladder.

The crew worked for more than an hour trying to coax Libby down but she refused to budge. Even an attempt using a longer ladder did not help, so the crew packed up and went home, hoping Libby would find her own way down.

They were prepared to return yesterday to finish the job. In the end, it took only one firefighter with a cherry picker to return Libby to her owner.

"She was still meowing when she got to the ground. We got into the house and she ate two bowls of food and water," Sandy said.

It was an "absolute relief" to get Libby back, who was uncharacteristically affectionate after the rescue, Sandy said. She thanked the firefighters for their patience and perseverance.

Kaikoura fire chief Ian Walker said the brigade was not called to rescue cats often. He warned people not to ring emergency services every time their cat got stuck up a tree. ‘They always come down by themselves eventually when they're hungry."

The Marlborough Express