Batman: The cat who was rescued from a tree (really!) and then found unconditional love through fate, coincidence, serendipity (whatever you want to call it!)

This is the story of Batman, a shy and scared kitten who came to AACC on October 30, 2015. Just how scared was this little guy?

Here are some of the notes about him from our cat behavior evaluators:

Kitten will dart/avoid while in cage.

Remove kitten out of box and hold close with continuous petting / rubbing around face. Kitten will attempt to slink quickly away unless held close.

Kitten would begin purring with this interaction and purring would increase in volume and be continuous. After quite a bit of holding/rubbing face, kitten relaxed more and would begin some consistent nudging of my hand for attention and some head butts. Eventually kitten would relax even more and stretch out in the circle of my arms and rest head on my arm.

I’m going to send to admin if there is someone available for some periods of interaction. In maternity he is not going to get the attention that he needs to improve.

That’s how Batman came to live in Brandi’s office where we were hoping he would learn to trust people. Here are a few of Brandi’s notes on Batman’s progress:

At first he would lower his body and hiss when I tried to pick him up. Would start purring immediately after I picked him up. He would relax very quickly after sitting on my lap. He would head butt me for more attention. He wasn’t very active in his kennel, didn’t seem to want to play with toys.

I put him on my lap and he was doing his usual purring, rubbing and wanting lots of attention. I set him on the floor and he crawled back in my lap.

He ran/flipped around his kennel playing with his toys for almost 30 minutes. This was the first time I saw him playing.

I think he will be shy and hide in his new home at first, but he seems to warm up quickly.


Batman getting comfy in Brandi’s office.

Finally Batman had to leave the comfort of Brandi’s office and move to a kitten kennel in the public area. He was ready to be adopted. Or that’s what we hoped. But in his kennel, Batman hid. So no one noticed him. But former Animal Control Officer Johnny Leece noticed him and took a liking to him, and, as you can see, Batman took a liking to Johnny.

Johnny and Batman (2)

Batman enjoying view from Johnny’s shoulders.

We even put up a post on social media of Batman and Johnny, hoping that someone would fall in love with our little shy kitten.

Johnny and Batman

It took a while, but someone did finally fall in love with Batman. On November 22 a woman named Jessica came in looking for a puppy, but she walked out with a kitten…a kitten named Batman.

Jessica tells it this way:

I came across this beautiful black kitten hiding at the back of his kennel. HE WAS SO CUTE! I had to meet him. I was told he was skittish and it could take awhile for him to warm up to people. I could see that he was very people-shy. I had to have him. He needed someone to love him and give him a safe place to be.

And that’s how Batman went home to live with his mom and her cat, named Cat.

On January 1, 2016 we received a call about a cat stuck in a tree. Johnny Leece responded. He tried to reach the cat with the only ladder available at the apartment complex but the cat was too high in the tree. The men with the big ladders were called in – Anchorage Fire Department. As all of this was going on, Jessica received a call from a friend who happened to work for AFD, telling her that the firemen were at her apartment building trying to get a cat from a tree. Could it be Batman?

AFD was able to reach the cat and handed him to Johnny. And, yes, it was Batman – the kitten Johnny had bonded with at the shelter. And so Jessica received a second call, this time from us, letting her know that Batman was safe at the shelter, waiting for her so he could go home.

Johnny saving Batman (2)

Not quite close enough to bring him down safely!

So how had Batman ended up in that tree? We’ll let his mom tell that story:

The apartment we were living had pretty shoddy locks on the doors. It had been a VERY long day so I went to bed early. Cat has a mysterious knack for opening doors that aren’t properly closed or locked. I woke up around 5 am and noticed it was really cold. I jumped out of bed and ran to the door thinking something was wrong – it was. My front door was wide open and my beloved cats were missing. I panicked. I immediately threw clothes on and ran out the door calling for the cats, crying because they were gone. I sprinted around the corner and there was the meowing – Cat, sitting in front of the wrong building meowing at the woman in the apartment situated like mine, asking to be let in. I took him home but could not find Batman. I searched and searched, I called my boss who would not give me the day off. I had to go to work. I couldn’t teach, I was a mess.

And that’s how Batman was saved from a tree. But what about the unconditional love? Well, Batman has never become completely comfortable around people but his mom and her wife accept and love Batman on his own terms. And isn’t that each of us wants from our friends, family, and partners?

Batman is still a little skittish with humans and only comes around to be petted when it’s quiet and calm. He loves to snuggle in the mornings on our pillows with us and will follow us into the bathroom to get love while we are brushing our teeth.

We loved this post that Jessica’s wife shared a few weeks ago – sheer joy at Batman interacting with her when she was upright and not lying in bed.


It only took three years!! He finally came up to me. Not only came up but reached his paw out for treats. 😍😍😍 This is a pivotal moment in my life! 

I have tried to gain his love in many different ways. 

#freezedriedchicken did the trick!


Melissas post

Batman reaching for the freeze dried chicken while the rest of the gang looks on.

And who is Jessica’s wife? Well, she just happens to be one of our newest Animal Control Officers – Officer Winn. Oh, and the day that Batman was brought to us is Officer Winn’s birthday. This story really is fate, coincidence, serendipity…

So that’s the story of Batman, his rescue from a tree and the unconditional love his moms have for him – quirks and all.

And to top it all off, for no particular reason, Johnny Leece showed up to work one day in a Batman costume.

Johnny_batman costume (2)

We have no idea what was going on here. Yes, he did change in to a proper uniform.


“It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.”

Batman aka Bruce Wayne

P.S.: Just before posting this Johnny Leece walked into the shelter where he hasn’t been for over a year. And he said he drove by Batman’s tree yesterday and thought “that’s the tree where Batman was.” Weird, huh?


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