A cat that was stuck in a tree since Thanksgiving night was finally returned safely to the ground. A professional tree climber went up the tree with ropes to retrieve the cat known as Rusty.

The couple isn't sure how Rusty escaped from their home. They did everything they could to get the cat down, but he didn't move. Not even when the EF-3 tornado swept through the area.

Inch by inch Timothy Pearson slowly made his way to the top this swaying tree all in a last ditch effort to rescue the four-year-old cat that ran up the tree during a lightning storm. His owners tried anything to get him down. “Open a can of tuna to see if he could smell it from up there, food, just about everything,” said Helen Aaron.

Each day the couple would stand at the tree calling the cats name. But Rusty refused to move. The family began to panic as news started to spread of a tornado heading towards the area. “Winds blowing and howling. Yes, he is an animal but he is a domesticated animal which needs security and us being here for him,” said Francis White.

Once the storm cleared out, they called firefighters who were too busy with recovery efforts and fighting the wildfires in Gatlinburg. They didn't know what else to do. So they called Ronnie’s Tree Service. But even then, the cat put up a tough fight. “He took off to the very tip of the smallest tree he could be in, to the smallest limb he could get out on,” said Timothy Pearson.

After 20 minutes of rescue attempts. Pearson was scaling down the tree with the feline in a pillowcase. “Joy, thank you God. Thank you Ronnie's Tree Service,” said Aaron.

“Yes! It was finally over. The waiting, this fear and anxiety and all the things that goes along with hope we can fix the situation,” said White.

With four paws now on the ground, the family said Pearson is their hero. “Hero is a big word, I am happy to help the cat. I love animals I don't want animals stuck in a tree, falling, or stuck get hurt or anything,” said Pearson.

Once inside, Rusty immediately started purring and cuddling with his owners. A family relieved and a kitty that will be happy to sleep inside after spending 7 nights in a tree. “All sleep well tonight. Peaceful evening headed into the holidays, it’s just good to know,” said White.

The owners said Rusty appears to be doing okay with no major injuries. They plan to take the cat to the vet to be evaluated.