SKOWHEGAN — After enduring more than 36 hours and two snowstorms up in a tree, Bubba the cat was some happy to be rescued Wednesday.

The 11-month-old, 6.5-pound, gray-and-white feline with green eyes and white whiskers had climbed the 30-foot-tall cedar tree Monday but wouldn’t come down, despite pleadings by his owner, Christine Conte, 71, of Parlin Street.

She and her daughter, Anne Madore, 52, who lives next door, tried everything. They and other family members called fire and police and an animal control officer but were told those officials don’t rescue cats from trees. While sympathetic, they advised Conte to put food on the ground beneath the tree. Eventually the cat would come down, they said. They sought to reassure her.

“The policeman said, ‘No cat skeletons have ever been found in trees,'” Conte recalled.

Time kept clicking on, and Bubba, though meowing and howling and shuffling about in the snowy branches, 25 feet up in the tree, didn’t dare to descend.

Conte was beside herself as Bubba remained perched, day and night, in the tree, through snow and rain and wind.


“You feel helpless,” Conte said. “You can’t eat; you can’t sleep. You open the door and your cat’s crying. Eating’s a hard thing, when you feel helpless and nobody’s coming to help you. I said, ‘Bubba, nobody’s coming. You’ve got to get yourself down.'”

But he didn’t come down. Conte’s grandson, Justin Fisher, 29, who is training to be a lineman, had tried to help. A cat lover himself, he climbed the tree and got within reach of Bubba, but when Christina heard a tree branch crack, she demanded he come down, she said.

Meanwhile, Madore, Conte’s daughter, had told a co-worker, Brenda Johnson, at H.P. Fairfield in Skowhegan, about the cat’s plight, and other employees got involved. Mark McKenney, who works in maintenance, called Skowhegan Equipment Rental and planned to rent a lift and rescue the cat Wednesday afternoon.

Bubba prowls about his owner’s kitchen Wednesday in Skowhegan after being rescued from a tree in Skowhegan. Bubba spent 36 hours in the tree amid a pair of spring snowstorms. Morning Sentinel photo by Amy Calder

But late Wednesday morning, a Fairfield arborist, Mark Reiland, got wind of the situation and offered to be there within the hour to try to rescue the cat.

Bubba the cat meows Wednesday while perched 25-feet up a cedar tree in Skowhegan, where it has been for 36 hours, according to owner Christine Conte. She said her cat was apparently scared or unable to climb down on its own. Morning Sentinel photo by David Leaming

Around 11:30 a.m., Reiland, 34, who owns, Valley Arbor Care, arrived at Conte’s home in his truck.

“Oh, wow — he’s up there,” said Reiland, as he surveyed the scene and called up to the cat: “I’m here to help you, buddy.”


He donned his climbing harness and helmet and ascended the tree, as Bubba, shaking, cold and scared, meowed, howled and shuffled about.

Within minutes, Reiland was near the treetop. He reached for the cat, placed it in a pillow case and descended the tree, carrying the bundled cat across the snowy lawn to Conte’s arms. Relieved and grateful, Conte carried it into the house before gently nudging Bubba to crawl out of the pillow case and onto the living room floor.

“The nightmare ends,” Conte said.

Bubba trotted around the living room and headed to the kitchen, where Conte fed him treats.

“I’m so grateful,” she said to Reiland. “Can I give you a hug?”

Reiland accepted, and told her she was welcome.


“We have a cat, too, so I’ve pulled our cat out of a tree a time or two,” he said. “I guess I should clarify — it’s my wife’s cat.”

Christine Conte is reunited with Bubba the cat after the feline was rescued Wednesday from a tree in Skowhegan. Bubba spent 36 hours in the tree amid a pair of spring snowstorms. Morning Sentinel photo by Amy Calder

Conte, who moved to Skowhegan from New Hampshire nearly two years ago, never considered herself a cat person until she adopted Bubba when he was 2 months old. While she was acclimating to her new environs, Bubba became good company.

And while he is rambunctious, claws holes in her living room curtains and gets on kitchen counters when he’s not supposed to, she has grown to love him, for better or worse. She realized just how much, after he spent two days in the tree.

“I’m a cat person now,” she said, her face beaming.


Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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