An Auckland woman is relieved to be reunited with her adventurous Burmese cat after it was rescued from a tall tree this morning by firefighters.
Cat owner Rachel Berkett collected Lucas the cat about midday after he absconded over the fence and clambered up the skeleton-like tree.
"That cat is only 7 months old and he has had the most traumatic life to date.
"It's unbelievable. He went missing for five days after the storms about a month ago."
It was only after mail drops, posts on social media and searches for the cat that he turned up again, she said.
"I think it's probably the first tree he has ever climbed up.
"I am really grateful that he didn't cross the road."
Berkett said the lovable scamp just wanted to be friends with everyone.
"I don't know what he thought he was doing up the tree."
She was blown away by how helpful the community had been and "couldn't believe" that firefighters had come to the cat's rescue.
The number of people who tried to help was incredible, she said.
"I have the fire station officer's business card so I will be giving him a call later and thanking him."
Carla Houkamau, who owns the Grey Lynn property, was stunned to find the group of "burly" firefighters rescuing the cat from the thinning tree outside her house this morning.
Houkamau said she noticed how high Lucas was up the tree about 8am.
"I don't know how he managed to get up there."
The cat's plight made her think they were going to need the help of the Grey Lynn firefighters who, based on Williamson Ave, were only a "stone's throw away" from the property on Elgin St.
After unsuccessful attempts to coax Lucas down she decided she would fetch some milk and if things had not improved by the time she returned she would ring the fire station.
When she returned about an hour later Fire and Emergency New Zealand were already on the scene, called to help out by a tenant on the property.
"I was quite surprised to see them," Houkamau said.
It was quite something to see these "big, burly" guys kitted out in full gear gently trying to coax the cat down, she said.
"They were really, really nice about it. It was quite amazing.
"I think it would have been quite difficult for them to navigate the backyard because it is quite overgrown."
Grey Lynn Station Officer Mark Shaw said his team did get the occasional call to retrieve a stuck cat but a lot of the time cats were pretty good at getting themselves down.
"In most cases you are better off to let the cat come down of its own volition," Shaw said.
"This particular cat did look pretty stuck and it did look a bit distressed.
"I think it had probably run away from a dog."
It was a little bit tricky to reach the cat but it was good practice for the newest recruit on the team, Shaw said.
"We do have a new guy on the watch and it was good for him to have a crack at it."
Shaw said the rescue would have only taken his team about 10 minutes.
"We obviously have to be very mindful of keeping ourselves available for the most important part of the job - making sure we can be there for anything life-threatening.
"We get in and out very quick and make ourselves available again."
The rookie cat rescuer, Auckland man Glen Richards, said he had been working as a firefighter for just over a month.
"It is the first time I have had to rescue a cat on the job."
Richards said he did not believe Lucas was going to be able to come down on its own as it was "pretty thin up the top" of the tree.
"I got up there and managed to coax it down."
From that point onwards the cat clung on tight to Richards and the relieved critter was "extremely friendly" once back on the ground.