Jack and The Bear

Published June 2006

A black bear sat perched high in a tree in West Milford, New Jersey. The bear peered down at the small figure sitting at the base of the tree. A tabby cat named Jack, had chased the bear up the tree and wouldn't let him come down!

Neighbor Suzanne Giovanetti was standing in her West Milford backyard, when she saw Jack, the cat, chase the black bear up a 40-foot tree.

The bear "stared at the cat, and decided to run for it. And with the cat on his ---, basically ran for the nearest tree," Giovanetti said.

Jack, a 15-pound orange-and-white cat, is known to be territorial about his property, chasing small animals when he can, but owner Donna Dickey say his latest escapade was surprising.

Jack was rescued from a shelter 10 years ago. A senior citizen by cat standards, he nonetheless was not going to stand idly by while the black bear invaded his garden.

Although de-clawed, Jack still regularly hunts rabbits, birds, and chipmunks.

"He's fearless. Yeah, I guess he's compensating for the no claws," neighbor Elisa Colombo said.

Giovanetti said, "Jack is the man. We expect a big fan club for Jack."

"We used to joke, 'Jack's on duty,' never knowing he'd go after a bear," owner Donna Dickey chucked.

Neighbor Suzanne Giovanetti first spotted Jack's accomplishment after her husband saw a bear climb a tree on the edge of their northern New Jersey home's back yard on Sunday. Giovanetti thought Jack was simply looking up at the bear, but soon realized the much larger animal was afraid of the hissing cat.

After about 15 minutes peering down at the cat from the tree, the bear descended and tried to run away, only to have Jack chase it up another tree.

At this point Ms. Dickey, who feared for her cat, called Jack back home and the bear scurried back to the woods.

"He doesn't want anybody in his yard," Dickey said.

Bear sightings are not unusual in West Milford, which experts consider one of the state's most bear-populated areas.

Jack's "tale" earned world-wide attention and his photo with his "captive" was the most down-loaded photo off the internet for several days...

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