WESTFIELD, NJ — Sometimes, it “takes a village.”

For six days, several Westfield families were keeping a watchful eye on a cat that appeared to be stuck in a tree. There were two unsuccessful attempts by the Westfield Fire Department to get her down, with the theory that the noise of the truck frightened her, and she retreated further.

An EMT came by and tried to lure her down with food. Neighbors came together to fashion a pulley bucket system, with water and cat food (and a shrimp thrown in with the hope that the smell would tempt her). The cat would get close but not quite close enough to get her down. A flurry of posts shared on Facebook groups solicited suggestions and attempted to find out if the cat had an owner. 

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The branches of the tree spread out over several properties, including the childhood home of Jane Anderson, who currently lives in Rahway Avenue, but spends a lot of time at her parents’ Westfield home on Cherokee Court. Anderson got in touch with Irma Cardoso, who has volunteered for cat rescues for many years.  

On Monday, Cardoso convinced her brother Alex, owner of Loyalty Tree Service in Westfield, to try and help her rescue the cat. Alex Cardoso and his employee Nino arrived at the site, where Nino climbed the tree using ropes and shoe spikes.

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Jane Anderson witnessed the rescue, along with about 15 other onlookers.

“The neighbors were all outside holding towels out in case the cat fell,” said Anderson. “Nino started up the tree around 12:30, and 15 minutes later, she’d been rescued.”

Alex Cardoso, a Marine veteran, has helped his sister Irma rescue cats over the years.

“He’s done this so many times,” said Irma Cardoso. “When I’ve called other tree services, they’ve wanted to charge us a few hundred dollars to come out, but Alex does this out of the goodness of his heart.”

The cat, who has been named Sky after her adventures in the tree, was lowered to the ground in a bag (after a brief struggle with Nino, who received a few scratches from the feisty feline), placed into a carrier and transported to Union Animal Hospital. Aside from severe dehydration and some problems with her teeth, Sky is healthy. Hospital staff has been able to handle her, which Cardoso says is a good sign that she may eventually be able to be adopted out.

Good Samaritans have donated more than $100 toward the veterinary bill, which Cardoso estimates will exceed $500. Sky is recovering well, continues to get intravenous fluids, and is scheduled to be spayed on Friday, so she will be vetted, vaccinated and chipped before she leaves the hospital. Anyone interested in donating to Sky’s care is asked to call Union Animal Hospital at 908-378-5188. Any funds collected above this bill will be put toward the next rescue cat brought into the hospital.

Dr. Robert Markowitz, one of the owners of Union Animal Hospital, indicated that his colleague Dr. David Fuerst was the first to see Sky when she was brought in as an emergency patient.

“We’ve been working with rescue organizations for more than 20 years,” said Markowitz. “We provide special pricing for rescues. This cat was dehydrated, as we would have expected, and was given fluids and stabilized. In a perfect world, once she’s cleared, we ultimately hope to find her a home.”

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