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Recalcitrant kitty netted from roof

After commandeering the roof of an Oak Harbor residence for almost two weeks, getting meager sustenance solely from rainwater as he braved inclement weather and watched his cache of nine lives tick down, a stubborn feline was successfully talked off the ledge Wednesday afternoon.

The orange and white tabby reportedly materialized on the roof of Oak Harbor Superintendent Rick Schulte’s Kalama Drive home sometime around the morning after Thanksgiving day. Efforts to lure the cat from behind one of the skylights were in vain and the steep pitch of the roof and slippery conditions precluded any heroic rescue attempts.

Terry Sampson, Oak Harbor Animal Control officer, was contacted and assessed the situation. Neither the city’s public works or fire departments are able to intervene in cases involving private property. The officer, echoing information given to Schulte’s wife, Shelley Collins, by veterinarians, said cats generally come down when their empty stomachs start calling the shots.

“That’s what I usually tell people. And I suggested contacting a tree service. At that point there wasn’t a lot the city could do,” Sampson said, adding that the cat was eerily sedentary on Tuesday, an inauspicious portent on day 12 of the improvised and unconventional kitty camping excursion.

While the tabby took its time either formulating the perfect escape plan or gathering up the nerve to carry out a feline suicide, on the ground Collins called tree services, roofers, vets, anyone she could think of who might be able to help.

“I’ve done everything that I can,” she said Tuesday. “I’ve called everywhere.”

Shari Bibich, manager of the WAIF shelters, spoke with Collins and also recommended a tree service. In the end, it was a friend of Collins’ who was able to lure the wayward cat close enough to secure him with a 10-foot salmon net.

Bibich was there for the extraction and discovered upon examining the feline that he was a WAIF cat adopted out in 2005. And like the famous Notre Dame gridiron underdog, he answers to the name of Rudy and is soon to be Oak Harbor’s favorite undercat.

“He’s come full circle,” Bibich said. “He’s just a sweetheart, very happy to be in a cage with a warm bed.”

If Rudy was incensed at the inordinate amount of time it took the inferior humans to pluck him off the roof, he reportedly concealed his disdain.

“He’s a little dehydrated,” Bibich said. “We’re going to give him a lot of TLC and get him back on his feet and find him an indoor-only home so this doesn’t happen again.”

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