I was alarmed to come home and find a fire truck in front of my neighbor’s house across the street some time ago.

I lingered on the front porch and was relieved to see my neighbor, healthy and uninjured, talking with a firefighter through her gate. The action was at her next-door neighbor’s house.

An ambulance eventually pulled up, but the only equipment taken through the front gate was a ladder.

My friend across the street told me her next-door neighbor had called firefighters because a cat had been sitting in a tree in that backyard for four days.

I thought firefighters rescuing cats from trees happened only in children’s books…

My friend said once the firefighters got close to the cat, it jumped out of the tree and ran away.

It seems the cat was less stuck than unmotivated to come down, except for possibly taking breaks when the humans weren’t looking.

Why any creature would voluntarily go on a hunger strike in a tree for four days, with few to no breaks, is beyond me.

I like cats, but they’re whackadoodles. It’s part of their charm.

My dad told me once that cats don’t get stuck in trees — they just don’t want to come down.

He’s right about that, in at least 99.9 percent of cat-in-high-places cases.

Besides the above incident, I was house- and cat-sitting several years ago when one of the resident felines, Sebastian, used a series of jumps to get on top of the kitchen cabinets and then meowed.

Experience has led me to believe that “meow” is usually translated “I want.”

The human is expected to figure out what the feline wants and provide it immediately.

I didn’t know what Sebastian wanted. I worried that he might be stuck, but Dad is often right about these things.

Besides, the cat had lived in the house for years. Surely, he had figured out how to get to and from his perches.

Still, the meowing continued. I decided to get Sebastian down in case he was stuck and so I wouldn’t have to worry about him. When I climbed up and reached for him, Sebastian started purring and crouched for me to pet him, which I did.

When I tried to take hold of him, he dodged.

We repeated the pet-grab-dodge cycle multiple times.

He didn’t want to get off the cabinets. He wanted me to come up and give him a head rub.

Aggravated that he’d meowed me into climbing up there, I decided he was coming down whether he liked it or not.

Feline rule No. 2: Humans do not win arguments with house cats.

When I assertively took hold of him, the normally friendly cat swatted my arm just enough to draw blood.

I disengaged, Sebastian jumped down and I spent probably 20 or 30 minutes washing the scratch and looking for an unexpired bottle of rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.

I don’t hold the incident against Sebastian, but I don’t intend to attempt any more cat rescue missions.