A cat was rescued in a joint operation between the RSPCA and Greater Manchester Fire Service after getting stuck 40ft up a tree.

The RSPCA was contacted on Saturday by Sooty’s owner after he was heard crying at the top of the tree next to Ashton Park, in Sale - five days after going missing.

RSPCA animal rescuer Claire Fisher attended and, seeing how high the tree was, contacted the fire service to assess the situation.

Claire said: “We had to act fast as we were concerned that Sooty would be dehydrated because it was a really hot day. The fire service assessed the tree and as it was so high, they didn’t feel it was safe for a normal ladder rescue - which we would usually do in these situations.

“The fire crew called out its technical rescue unit and a brave officer, Ben Lyon, climbed the nine-metre ladder and used a rope system to climb the remaining six meters to reach Sooty.

“There was a tense moment or two when we all heard the tree limbs cracking under Bens weight. 

“Sooty worried us a couple of times by moving to the end of the very wobbly branches but thankfully Sooty made his way back to Ben, and he was able to be caught, safely put into the basket then lowered down. 

“I briefly checked him and was happy, he was bright and alert and Sooty was pleased to be returned home.

“It was a successful rescue and we’re so grateful to the fire service for helping us get Sooty safely back to where he belongs, with his owner.”

Dan King, Sale fire crew manager, said: “This proved to be quite a challenging incident due to the size and type of tree and also the great height that Sooty had managed to climb to.

“Luckily Greater Manchester Fire and rescue service was able to deploy one of its specialist technical rescue teams to support the local fire crew that had been deployed from Sale. On this occasion, ‘cat-astrophe’ was averted and Sooty didn’t have to use any of his nine lives as he was rescued by firefighters using specialist rope rescue equipment from his lofty perch 15 meters above the ground.”

The RSPCA is continuing its vital work rescuing animals during the Coronavirus crisis, with our frontline animal rescuers have been designated as key workers by the Government.

To help the RSPCA keep rescuing animals like these and keep our animal hospitals and centres running for emergency treatment and round the clock care through these unprecedented times, please donate whatever you can spare at www.rspca.org.uk/covid