Florida man rescues cat from tree in Newton

Stephen Mason holds the cat he found in a tree near Woodlawn Baptist Church. The cat is currently being cared for at the Humane Society of Catawba County.

A Florida man stopped in Newton earlier this week to buy a car. Now, he’s trying to reunite a paralyzed cat he found in a tree with its owner.

Stephen Mason, an optician from Sarasota, Fla., said he was in the area Monday with his son to buy a truck from Steve White Motors in Newton.

Mason said he’d bought a vehicle from the dealership before and was so pleased with the experience that he makes the 12-hour drive whenever he’s in need of a car.

On his way back home, he tried to stop in the parking lot of the Bojangles' restaurant, but it was full.

Mason tried again at the Cook Out restaurant across the street but had no luck there either. He eventually stopped at Woodlawn Baptist Church.

It was there that Mason and his son heard what he described as a faint, crying … sound. They looked around and saw a cat stuck in a branch of a tree.

Mason climbed up the tree and brought the cat down. The cat appeared to be paralyzed in the lower legs, Mason said.

“And as I’m holding (her), (she’s) purring like no other cat has ever purred before,” Mason said. “Like, ‘Thank god you just saved my life.’

Mason took the cat to the Humane Society of Catawba County, and is hoping to find the owner soon. “We know somebody loves the cat because (she) has a pink collar and also has a flea collar,” Mason said.

Jane Bowers, executive director of the Humane Society of Catawba County, said the cat's limited mobility seems to be the result of a neurological condition. 

The cat has given steroids in hopes of helping with that condition, Bowers said.

Bowers said the cat has made some attempts to use her lower legs.

The cat has a microchip, but the chip is not registered so the shelter has not been able to locate an owner using the chip, Bower said.

Typically, the shelter keeps lost animals on hold for 72 hours after they are brought to the shelter, Bowers said. After that, the shelter owns the animal and typically puts them up for adoption after providing certain medical services.

“But obviously, in all cases, if we can trace an owner and that owner want their animal back, we’ll make sure we can make that happen,” Bower said.

In her short time at the shelter, the cat, named Punkins by the staff, “has won everybody’s heart,” Bowers said.

For more information on the cat, call the Humane Society at 828-464-8878 or visit www.catawbahumane.org

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Kevin Griffin is the City of Hickory reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.

Hickory Daily Record city reporter Email: kgriffin@hickoryrecord.com

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