Arborist/Professional Tree Climber
Class of 1985
By Mali’o Kodis
Climbing palm trees and picking coconuts during his childhood in Hawaii has proven to be an appropriate prerequisite for Dan Kraus, professional arborist and cat rescuer. Dan graduated in 1985 from Waiakea High after attending Mountain View Elementary and Laupahoehoe Schools. While at Waiakea, Dan remembers “hanging out with (his) heavy metal rocker friends behind the cafeteria and playing hacky sack.” His favorite cafeteria meal was pizza, and he remembers his French teacher, his auto shop teacher, and is glad to have learned to type. After graduation, Dan went on to study at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. He has lived in Seattle for 10 years with his wife, two dogs, and two cats. They are expecting their first child in June 2008.
In Seattle, Dan works as an arborist and has his own cat-rescue business called Dan’s Cat-in-a-tree Rescue Service. So far, he has rescued more than 500 cats plus an assortment of pet birds, model airplanes, orphaned baby squirrels and pet iguanas. When asked about his rescue business, Kraus said that one day, “it dawned on me that someone with a cat that has been stuck for days at the top of a tree has no one to call for help.” Dan decided to step up and help these desperate pet owners. A typical rescue consists of climbing up the tree with ropes and peeling the cat off the branch “like Velcro.” He scoops the cat into a pet carrier, then belays down to cheers of gratitude. “My favorite rescues are the ones in which the people are so distressed over the cat, the kids are crying, the neighborhood is out and everyone’s cheering. I love that.” Dan’s website is: www.catinatreerescue.com.
Besides the achievement of saving more than 500 feline lives, Dan also totes the titles of ISA International Tree Climbing Champion, 10-Time Pacific Northwest Tree Climbing Champion, and 6-Time Hawaiian State Tree Climbing Champion, all while being an active arborist for over 22 years. Dan’s childhood in Hawaii definitely prepared him for his lifelong tree-loving profession. While growing up, Dan worked for his father, Mike, (arborist at Tree Works, Inc.) and quickly learned good work ethic and tree-climbing techniques. He used to trim palm fronds and pick coconuts to “keep them from falling on the tourists.”