The story of a fireman rescuing a kitten out of a tree is one we’ve heard time and time again. One Owatonna firefighter made this cliché a reality on Thursday when he was summoned by none other than his wife to help a kitten stuck up a tree.

Julia Seykora, events director for the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, had her windows open at her office, enjoying the crisp fall air when she heard some unusual sounds.

“I heard crying coming from a tree by the river,” Julia said. “I thought it was squirrels fighting or just being squirrels making sounds at first.”

By the second morning of hearing the cries and no longer thinking squirrels were the culprit, Julia decided to go outside to investigate the source of these sounds.

Sure enough, high up in the tallest oak tree outside the chamber office, Julia saw a tiny kitten amongst the branches. She also noticed a larger cat watching her as she assessed the situation down closer to the river. She made a few calls for assistance and then remembered that her husband and fireman, Ryan Seykora, was on duty.

Ryan was talking with some kindergarteners for Fire Prevention Week when he got the call from his wife.

“When she called, I laughed a little and thought, really?” Ryan said. “I did go down there to help, and I was surprised at how high up the cat was in the tree.”

He estimated that the kitten managed to climb 30 feet up into the tree. Ryan initially brought the bucket truck down, but with power lines in the way, he could not use that to rescue the helpless kitten.

With the help of a passerby, Ryan was able to bring out a 35-foot extension ladder and made his way up to where the kitten was.

“Once I got up there, the kitten walked to me,” Ryan said, which did not surprise Julia, as he is also her personal hero. “He was ready to come down.”

Julia believes this was a bit of fate, and the kitten chose them. She recently lost her 24-year-old feline friend, Tristan.

“It was meant to be,” Julia said. “I felt compelled, and this little kitten just called out to me.”

The pair turned their new little friend over to the Owatonna Animal Shelter to see if an owner could be found. The shelter told them that if the kitten is not claimed in six days, he will be available for adoption.

The pair are no strangers to helping animals in need. While the couple was living in Worthington, Minnesota, several years ago, they happened upon a hawk that had been struck by a car. They brought it home and cared for the bird until a raptor rescue could take it from there. They aptly named him “Steven Hawking.”

While there is a slight disagreement between the husband and wife, it’s safe to say that the Seykora household will likely welcome a new kitten in just a few days.

Reach reporter Emily Kahnke at 507-444-2376. ©Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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