When I first got in to this photojournalism thing,  I ran across a series of photos in News Photographer magazine- 27 years ago- of a cat being rescued from a tree by firefighters.  The photos were pretty amusing.

Up until Wednesday (Aug. 24) I’d never seen anything remotely resembling a cat rescued from a tree.  I’ve photographed dogs, iguanas, hamsters, pigs and cows receiving oxygen after fires but never a cat rescue.

When our photo department scanner toned out Santa Rosa’s Engine One to respond for a cat stuck in a tree, I just had to respond too.  Wednesday was not a slow news day,  I had just gotten back from Annapolis (the one on the west coast) and was busy toning photos for the paper.  When I hear a call like this, I feel obligated to at least show up with a camera.

Well, the cat wasn’t stuck in a tree but on a roof of a Cherry St. home near Humboldt Ave. The cat had caterwauled most of the night according to area residents and was quite the mournful beast at two in the morning.

Well, much to the chagrin of Captain Jim Eckhoff and firefighter Alex Serrano, I was there to document the rescue. It went off with out a hitch and Nickels was reunited with his owner, Penny.  It’s a well known fact that firefighters have to buy ice cream for their co-workers when they appear in the newspaper and the online version too.  I think they will be buying a quart or two in the next few days.  Sorry guys.

Santa Rosa fire captain Jim Eckhoff of SR's station one, rescues Nickels from a roof of a Cherry Street home in Santa Rosa as firefighter Alex Serrano steadies the ladder, Wednesday August 24, 2011. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

Fire captain Jim Eckhoff of SR's station one, rescues Nickels from a roof of a Cherry Street home in Santa Rosa, Wednesday August 24, 2011. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

Nickels is reunited with his owner Penny, after fire captain Jim Eckhoff of SR's station one, rescued Nickels from a roof of a Cherry Street home in Santa Rosa, Wednesday August 24, 2011. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

We all know cats are pretty indifferent.  They do as they please.  Dogs on the other hand will fall all over themselves to please their human counterparts.  Want me to chase that ball?  Throw it again!  Cats are a lot like humans that climb cliffs on the coast.  It’s fun to make the climb, the view is great when you reach the top, but it’s way too scary to come back down.  Yep, that’s a cat.

-Kent Porter