When cats are stuck in a tree, Ross Wilkinson gets them down as a volunteer arborist. (Pixabay photo)

Victoria man moonlights as cat rescuer

Ross Wilkinson is an arborist who uses his skills to get cats down from trees

Not all heroes wear capes – some wear helmets and gloves.

Ross Wilkinson is an arborist and tree risk assessor, but that’s only his day job. In his spare time, he uses his skills to rescue cats from trees across Greater Victoria.

“I’ve always had cats growing up, and people would always phone the office and ask for help and I’d say yes,” Wilkinson said. “I just enjoy doing it, being a cat person.”

Wilkinson said he doesn’t ask for payment for the job and is just happy to see people reunited with their furry family members.

ALSO READ: Leash your cat or face a $150 fine in Victoria

When cats get stuck in trees, the cliche is to call the fire department, but Wilkinson said that’s not a realistic solution.

“Fire departments don’t actually do that, it’s a misconception,” he said. “They’ll do it in extraordinary situations, but most of the time cats get stuck in backyards.”

Wilkinson said he gets called from a few times per month to once every six weeks and estimates that he’s saved a couple dozen cats since he moved to Canada from Scotland six years ago.

He’s had many memorable encounters, including an “epic” scene with a dispute between neighbours when the cat was intruding on another’s property.

VIDEO: Nearly 60 feral cats caught in one B.C. neighbourhood

“The police were involved because the people didn’t get along,” Wilkinson said. “It was pretty funny because it really takes 10 minutes for me to get the cat down.”

His favourite, however, was rescuing a young cat from a 100-foot tree.

“The people who phoned me, it wasn’t even their cat … but they were almost in tears when I got it down,” he said, adding that they were so grateful they found every piece of cash they had. “It was a funny amount, like $46.25.”

Wilkinson said he registered with a Seattle-based online registry of cat rescuers, catinatreerescue.com, and believes that’s how most people find him.

“People are always amazed, but it’s so easy for me to do,” Wilkinson said. “I do much harder stuff.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Cats

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ninja groups could be setting children up for identity theft, online safety expert says

‘When I started seeing entry codes into secure buildings, I’m thinking oh my God, what are we doing?’

‘Guard cat’ retires early from B.C. Aviation Museum

North Saanich museum finds forever home for mascot Marcus the cat

Close call has North Saanich councillor appealing for traffic safety

Coun. Jack McClintock is using an incident involving his daughter to highlight traffic safety

Saanich Peninsula steps into post-pandemic phase

Pending partial re-opening of local schools signals new start

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

UPDATE: B.C.’s Central Kootenay issues evacuation orders for hundreds of residents due to flooding

An evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

PHOTOS: Thousands gather at Vancouver Art Gallery to protest racism

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Number of students returning is a wild card as B.C. schools reopen Monday

A common model will see other teachers work four days a week in class then the fifth remotely,

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Most Read