Shaun is a certified Arborist and a professional mountain guide, and has loved animals since as long as he can remember. He was five years old when he adopted his first kitten. Currently, he has two feral rescue cats, Medi and Gari, that he has cared for since they were young and has two dogs that are his best friends. Shaun created Canopy Cat Rescue in 2009 where they rescue cats stuck in trees, any time day or night. Shaun loves climbing trees and helping reunite owners with their feline friends.
Q: If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
“If I were an animal I guess I’d have to be either a cat or a falcon. The cats have really fun lives and the falcon of course because they can fly really fast.”
Q: How did you get into animal rescue?
“I got into animal rescue because I owned a small tree company and folks call arborists for things in trees. I’ve always loved cats and when I got called for my first cat in a tree call I knew it was something I needed to do. Initially, when we would get called we would do about 1-2 a month now in a busy month we do about 60.”
Q: Are there any Canopy Cat Rescue stories that stand out?
“One cat rescue story that I often tell is the story of Nelson. When I initially got the call it was for an unknown cat. You never know how unknown cats will be in stressful situations so it was great when I realized he was a super friendly cat. What really made my day was when we both got safely down from the tree and my microchip scanner picked up a chip. It turned out he had been missing for over a week and his owners thought he was dead. They we overjoyed when they got the phone call from us and this story, like many illustrate the importance of microchips.”
Q: Why do cats climb trees if they usually cannot get down?
“When cats go up trees it’s generally because they are being chased. There are some situations when they might be chasing something. Cats claws are shaped like fish hooks so it’s really easy to go up and difficult to climb down. In order to go down they need to go backwards and not head first. Sometimes cats can figure it out but most of the time they need help. Also, if it’s a predator driven climb the dog or coyote might still be in the area causing kitty to not want to attempt to climb down.”
Q: What does it take to learn how to climb trees and rescue cats?
“In my opinion it takes a lot of experience to be a qualified tree climber/arborist and to add the cats into the mix is sometimes a very challenging procedure. My company is hoping to facilitate cat rescue training classes to help other tree climbers around the country.”
Q: What keeps you motivated to keep doing what you’re doing for animal rescue?
“The thing that keeps me motivated are the cats. I’m a cat owner myself and I can see how stressful it might be to have your furry loved one in a tree. Being able to reunite these cats with their families is very rewarding.”