MIDWEST CITY — Alex Jr.’s family and neighbors had resigned themselves. An ice storm was coming and the 3-month-old kitten was probably going to die up in the tree where he’d been stranded since Tuesday night. And it was probably out of the question for the fire department to come to help, said Lauri Goff, a neighbor of the cat’s owners. "We accepted we’re not living in ‘Father Knows Best’ times,” Goff said. Goff had been trying to help her neighbor, Crystal Jacobo, 804 W Rickenbacker, lure the cat down from the tree. Nothing worked. Her family could hear the cat crying every time they were outside, Jacobo said. Goff called Animal Control, where a member of the staff said, "We don’t do trees.” She also called the fire department. The fire department doesn’t normally rescue cats. In fact, it’s probably been about 20 years since the last cat rescue, said fire department spokesman Jerry Lojka. But something struck Fire Chief Randy Olson on Thursday morning about the dire weather forecast and the kitten’s plight — and he approved the use of a ladder truck to attempt a rescue. "When she told me the age of the cat, it changed the whole perspective,” Olson said. "We felt that if the freezing temperatures came in, it would definitely succumb to hypothermia and die.” The chief told the crew, "‘If you can do it safely, go ahead and do it,’” Lojka said. "The branch was just kind of out there, no other obstructions.” The fire crew had no way to know how the cat would react when a ladder came toward it, Lojka said. But Alex Jr. knew what a ladder was for. He didn’t even wait for an ascending firefighter. "He jumped off this branch and down the ladder he comes,” Lojka said.