A COWARDLY cat has had to be rescued by a tree surgeon after spending two days stuck 80 foot up a tree.
The fearful feline, which was at risk of falling in to fast-flowing water and drowning, had to be dragged to safety by a tree surgeon after it refused to come down.
Efforts are now under way to track down the owner of the grey tom, who appears to be unharmed following his ordeal.
Vivienne Buchan, 69, from Balerno, spotted the animal hanging on to the branch overhanging the Bavelaw Burn.
She said: “The poor thing wasn’t moving – it was terrified. Because of all the rain, the river is quite fast flowing. If the cat had fallen in to the water, it would have drowned.
“I was terrified it was going to fall. I couldn’t get to sleep thinking about it – it was such a horrible thing to see.
“My husband only noticed it because he was decorating. We know it was there for two days, but it could have been there longer. No-one could work out how it managed to climb so high – I can only imagine something really spooked it.”
The cat was initially left up the tree, and Vivienne said staff at the Scottish SPCA told her reaching it would have been a health and safety risk, although experts often advise people to leave the animals to come down by themselves.
Vivienne said: “The woman who came out from the charity decided not to do anything at first, and she was talking about health and safety. It was a tricky one because of where the cat was stuck, but the Scottish SPCA are the first ones to tell you to get in touch if a cat is in distress.
“I’m glad there was a happy ending. The guy who got the cat down was wonderful.”
The rescue operation, which took almost an hour, cost the charity just over £80. Experts warn it is often best to leave cats stuck in trees alone, as an early rescue attempt could chase them higher or cause them to panic and fall.
The Scottish SPCA, which is caring for the cat at its rehoming centre, hopes its officers might have already tracked down his owner.
Inspector June Chalcroft said staff were alerted on Sunday.
She said: “We attended, observed the cat sitting on the branches and advised the caller to give him 24 hours to come down on his own accord, as the vast majority do when they become hungry.
“The caller contacted us again today, Monday, to advise the cat was still there. In response we assessed the situation and hired a skilled tree surgeon to come out and conduct the rescue operation.
“He climbed approximately 80ft to reach the grey male cat and bring him safely back down to the ground. He is now awaiting his owner and being cared for at our Edinburgh and Lothians Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre.”