Trevor Partlo calls himself a “dog” person but what the Victoria firefighter experienced Friday has given him a new appreciation for cats.

“This was a very impressive cat I’ll say that,” Partlo said from his property in Youbou.

Because the “cat in a tree” callPartlo’s crew received Friday afternoon was actually a cougar. It was found roaming in Victoria’s Gorge Road area in broad daylight. Once sedated, it fell asleep in a tree and Victoria Fire was called in to rescue it.

As his crew headed to the scene, Partlo knew he wanted to be the one to climb the ladder.

“At the beginning of the incident I called shotgun and the boys let me have it so I was pretty happy,” he said.

Before he started to ascend the ladder though, Partlo had a word with conservation officers.

“My first question when we arrived is you’re positive he’s out?” he said.

The experts say they are never in doubt.

“We’ve been doing it for years so once it’s darted and we see it go down we know it’s out,” said Conservation Officer Peter Pauwels.

But as Partlo approached the large cat he reached out to pet it, just to double check.

“I gave him a little pat just to make sure he didn’t move, and he seemed pretty asleep so I felt comfortable trying to get him out of that tree,” he said.

Using his ladder rescue training, he hoisted the 90 pounds cat over his shoulder and carefully descended. The rescue was a success.

“I gave him a little pat on the head as I lowered him down onto the tarp and hopefully, he lives a long life,” he said.

“I just feel very lucky to have been part of it with a fantastic crew and yes, it was a lot fun and very cool.”

The cougar has since been released into the wild.

April Lawrence