ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — An Air Force veteran is continuing his public service by helping Asheville communities and surrounding areas catch cats that got a little too curious.
Retired Air Force colonel Spencer Cocanour offers free help through Asheville Tree-Top Cat Rescue, rescuing cats from trees. He went from working special operations and personal recovery with planes and pilots to personal recovery of cats.
What might have started as a joke between Cocanour and his wife has turned into a very real operation.
“So, I decided to buy my own tree climbing kit and my wife looks in the garage and sees it hanging on the hook and says, ‘what’s that?’"
“Well, I might have to rescue a cat someday, Hun!"
And just a month later, that’s exactly what happened.
“I’m up to about 140-150 cats that I’ve rescued out of trees," Cocanour said.
One might think with his military training, climbing trees would be a piece of cake for Cocanour.
That would be wrong, though, as Cocanour explains.
“Dead trees are ones that I’m always really cautious of," he said. "I try not to climb dead trees, I’ll even usually climb a live tree next to it and try to either swing over to the dead tree or I’ll tie off on another tree just in case something snaps so that I don’t go tumbling down, I’ve done that before."
Cocanour says most cats will come down on their own by day two but that’s not always the case.
“Dehydration is my biggest concern when it comes to a cat in a tree," he said. "So if you go more than four days, they start having a lot of kidney issues."
But before it gets to that point, he’s ready with his climbing shoes. No, not a laddershoes.
“So basically, spikes on your shoes that helps you climb up.”
And these cat rescues can look a lot like a scene out of a super spy film.
“If it’s a friendly cat and it’s an easy tree to set, I’ll shoot a line up there, tie it off and just climb the rope up to get the cat.”
If you’re a brave soul that would like to help Cocanour on his mission or you just need your cat rescued, you can contact him through Facebook on the Asheville Tree-Top Cat Rescue page.
“As long as I’m still able to climb the trees, I’m still doing it," he said. "Keeps me entertained.”