You could say Dan Kraus takes his extracurricular pursuits above and beyond. Roughly twice a week, the Everett-based arborist dons a harness and climbs way up—as high as 120 feet—in trees from SeaTac to Sultan, saving terrified cats that have far exceeded their comfort zone. A 2005 International Tree Climbing Competition champion, Kraus has been in the cat rescue business for 14 years, ever since a panicked cat owner called his workplace, Seattle Tree Preservation, in search of feline assistance. After retrieving the stranded cat and hearing about the owner’s struggle to find help, Kraus was inspired to start Cat in a Tree Rescue. “I started getting calls within the week,” Kraus recalls.
He has since created an online directory of cat-saving arborists all over the world. For Kraus, who performs the rescues off the clock, sometimes in the pitch dark, reuniting cats with owners makes it worthwhile. “It’s amazing what people go through: They haven’t been sleeping, the kids have been upset, it’s just been wrecking their life,” Kraus says. “I get a lot of people with teary eyes giving me a big hug.” He gets to be a hero all over again when his young daughters hear his amazing cat tales.
Need to Know:
1. As of early January, Kraus had rescued 950 cats (and a couple of iguanas and birds, too).
2. Each rescue takes about 30 minutes; the flat fee is $75.
3. If your cat is stuck in a tree, Kraus recommends waiting overnight before calling for help, since the cat will most likely climb down on its own.
4. Kraus says calling the fire department is not the best plan because often the ladder truck can’t reach the tree, and also because, well, actual fires.
5. See Kraus’ photos of the cats he’s saved at catinatreerescue.com.