The Coast News Group
Joseph Descans is a certified arborist and tree trimmer who runs Cat Rescuers, which he started after getting calls to help cats and other animals stuck in trees. Courtesy photo
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Local arborist saves cats

Kibbles probably didn’t plan to get stuck in a tree, but that’s certainly where he ended up one Christmas Eve a few years ago. As Kibbles’ new adopted owners were bringing him home to Oceanside, he escaped from his cage and ran straight up a tall pine tree.

Luckily, Joseph Descans came to Kibbles’ rescue. With ropes and climbing gear in tow, Descans climbed up the tall tree to the orange tabby’s rescue.

Kibbles was stuck at the end of a thin branch near the top of the tree. Descans, an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist and professional tree trimmer, attached the rope to the top of the tree at a level higher than where Kibbles hung on.

Simply climbing the branch would have been unsafe, which is why he had to be attached to the top of the tree by his rope to be able to reach Kibbles.

Descans scooped Kibbles into a bag, which he put in his backpack, and carried him down the tree.

Descans started rescuing cats more than six years ago.

“I was already climbing trees, trimming trees, and then somebody called me to see if I could get a cat out of a tree,” he said.

The number of cat rescue calls started to grow, and eventually spiked when residents in Fallbrook called him about an owl stuck in a eucalyptus tree. The owl had got its foot wedged in a fork of the tree’s branches.

After Descans freed the owl from the tree, he took the injured creature to a wildlife rescue in San Diego. After that, the rescue agency started referring callers to Descans to rescue their pets from trees. Even the region’s police and fire departments as well as the San Diego Humane Society referred Descans when help was needed.

When Descans receives a call about a cat stuck in a tree, he determines the first course of action based on how long the cat has been up there.

“If it’s been up there for 20 minutes there’s a good chance it will eventually come down, but once it stays overnight, it’s time for me to get it,” he said.

Half of his cat rescues end up with the cat going into the bag and being safely transported down the tree, while the other half either end up climbing down on their own or even jumping out of the tree.

“A cat will always land on its feet,” Descans said.

Descans also tries to avoid hurting the trees he climbs during a cat rescue. Lucky for the pine tree, Descans didn’t have to use spikes to climb up its tall trunk.

Descans loves to help the cats he saves and the people who care for them.

“It’s really fulfilling to rescue the cats because they could die stuck in those trees,” he said. “By getting them out, you’re saving the cat and making people happy.”

You can watch Kibbles’ and other cat rescues on the Two cat rescuers Youtube page. For cat rescues or tree care, call Descans at 619-203-1722.