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

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

Just Posted

Two volunteers work to sieve a sample of sand and ocean water through a filter, capturing any potential microplastics. (Courtesy of Ocean Diagnostics)
Victoria startup making waves in microplastics research

New products from Ocean Diagnostics will make research faster, more affordable

Willows Beach in Oak Bay. (Black Press Media file photo)
Seven days of sun set to shine on Greater Victoria

Special weather statement warns of higher than usual temperatures

Chef Trevor Randle leads a June 21 online cooking featuring recipes – beef zesty lettuce wraps, blueberry strudel and blueberry spritzer. (Courtesy We Heart Local BC)
Free online cooking course explores B.C. blueberries and beef

Chef Trevor Randle calls them the province’s most flavourful foods

Shaelyn Sinnott of Oak Bay Volunteer Services delivers groceries for client Irene Kenny. The organization has kept up delivery of food and medication throughout all phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy Oak Bay Volunteer Services)
Oak Bay volunteers keep critical services running

Duo drove between Oak Bay and Jubilee three days a week, twice a day during pandemic

Al Kohut, owner of the new photographers GALLERY, checks out Looking Back by David Bradt. The photo printed on canvas is among 50 images featured in the Birds on the Wild Side exhibition showing until July 3. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Photo gallery in Sidney plucks out top bird photos

Birds on the Wild Side show running at the new photographers GALLERY until July 3

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Most Read