It's the smell that did it, says cat whisperer Jamie Green.
After over an hour perched at the top of the ladder shaking a box of cat biscuits, trying to entice a cat from death row - a two-storey high phoenix palm in Napier - he remembered the Marmite sandwich in his back pocket.
The cat couldn't resist and made its way down the palm frond Mr Green had hold of. He gave it a shake, the branch broke and swung to the ground, and the cat jumped off and darted under a nearby house.
Mr Green collected a $400 bounty from radio station ZM and the Hastings painter bought a feed of fish and chips last night.
"I've got a way of doing things," Mr Green said today when asked what his secret was. But the cat - which the SPCA now says appears not to be feral at all - has Mr Green's partner, Anna Johnson, to thank for putting him up to the rescue mission.
"I was in bed and my missus came in all traumatised - she's a cat lover," Mr Green said.
"They're going to shoot it, you've got to save it," she said to Mr Green, and dug him out of bed.
The marmite sandwich would have been lunch but at 3pm he was still in bed with a bad bout of the flu and he had been off work at Freeman Decorators for a couple of days.
The marmite sandwich did what cat food, water spraying, firefighters and animal control workers all failed to do. The stubborn moggy had been stuck up the phoenix palm in suburban Marewa for about a week.
Annoyed residents had had enough of the cat's howling and there was talk it might have to be shot.
Wanita Rarere enjoyed a night without the hungry moggy howling and was this morning planning to coax the infamous cat out from under a neighbour's house.
"If Jamie wants it he has first dibs," she said.