Cat stuck in a tree?

Randall Kolb

It happens all the time.  All cats are natural tree climbers, but when it is time to come down, some cats know how and some don’t.  Those that don’t know how to come down are truly stuck.

Don’t let your cat suffer any longer.  If you are in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area, give me a call or e-mail.  I will rescue your cat, and it won’t cost you a penny.

I rescue cats for free because I love cats, I hate suffering, and I don’t want the cat to suffer just because someone can’t pay.  Besides, I am retired, so I have the time, and this does not take me away from a paying job.  This is one way in which I am uniquely suited to reduce suffering, and it gives me great joy to do so.

It is very important to me that people know that I will rescue their cat even if they can't afford it.  For this reason, I refuse any offer of payment even though I am very grateful for the gesture.  If you want to give something, I encourage you instead to make a donation to Cat Haven or any other animal welfare organization of your choice.

Not in My Area?
If you are not in the Baton Rouge area, then be sure to check this Directory of cat rescuers all over the world.  Chances are good that you will find someone there.  If no one is listed for your immediate area, do not be afraid to call the ones closest to you.  You may be surprised to learn how far some of the rescuers will go.  Otherwise, they still might be able to help you find someone in your area.  Failing that, call your local tree service companies.  Many do not want to be bothered with cat rescues, but they still might be able to direct you to someone.

Rescue Philosophy
There are many ways to rescue a cat, and my goal is to do so in the least stressful manner possible.  Every cat is different, and every tree is different.  All rescue options will not be suitable in every case, but I will escalate to the next stress level only when the lower ones have failed or been deemed unsuitable.  In the end, however, even a stressful rescue is much better than none at all.

I like to enlist the cat’s cooperation as much as possible.  Not only is that easier on the cat, it makes my job easier as well.  I will use food to entice the cat to come closer to me or inside a carrier.  Most cats that have been stuck in a tree for a day or more are very food-motivated, and many will readily walk into a carrier to get it.  Some cats are so tired of being in the tree that they readily come to me begging for rescue without my enticing them with anything at all.  But not every cat is so cooperative.  Some will cooperate if I give them enough time to get used to me and see that I am not a threat.  However, some cats, especially feral ones, may not cooperate at all and instead climb higher in the tree.  Even so, I still have ways to rescue them.

I love cats, and I love trees too.  I climb trees using ropes and professional climbing methods that do no harm to the tree.  I never use spikes; I don’t even own them.

Why Do I Do This?
Randall descending cedar treeFirst, there is a need for it.  Cats continually get stuck in trees, and there are very few people who are willing and able to help.  In some areas, there is no one who will rescue the cat, and people and their cats suffer needlessly as a result.  I do it to help fill that void and reduce that suffering.  Also, remember that when I rescue a cat, I am also rescuing at least one person as well.  Sometimes, I rescue a whole family, including the children.  The people who love the cat are often suffering more than the cat is, and it feels very rewarding to me to return that cat to their arms and relieve their suffering.

Consider watching one of these slideshows of my favorite images from my rescues, and I think you will understand just how meaningful and important this is both to the people and their cats.


Rescues 201 - 300

Rescues 101 - 200

Rescues 1 - 100

Rescue Stories
Below this section is the story of my most recent rescue.  For this and all the other individual rescue stories, see the Rescue Stories page.  For a general overview, consider these yearly compilations of the best moments from all my rescues.



Sylvester got himself in a spot that was miserable for both him and me. He was stuck about 40 feet high in a tree in the woods behind his home in Folsom, and he had been there for two nights when I arrived. I had to spend several minutes cutting and clearing a path through the undergrowth just to reach the tree, but I had an army of gnats and mosquitoes helping me all along the way. The tree had very few substantial limbs, so I had few choices for places to install my rope. Considering all the things that could have gone wrong with installing my rope in this situation, I really was very lucky that it went as well as it did. Still, I had been there over an hour and was soaking wet with sweat before I was even ready to begin climbing the tree.

To make matters worse, Laura told me that her Sylvester always runs away and hides from strangers, so I was not expecting a warm reception from him in the tree. I needed to approach him as calmly and gently as possible, so that's what I did.

As I drew closer to him, I could see the concern on his face, but he was staying in place. I did my best not to alarm him as I inched closer and closer to him. Once I was barely within reach, I stretched my hand out to him, and he bent down to sniff it. I was very relieved to have passed the first sniff test, but we weren't buddies yet. I came closer and continued to reach my hand out to him for a sniff and then a light touch of his cheek. Soon I was able to rub his head, but, while he was accepting and tolerating my touch, he did not appear to be enjoying it. We still weren't buddies yet, but we were close enough that I could bag him, buddies or not.

I prepared the cat bag on my arm and then made the mistake of reaching that same hand out to him again. This time, he sniffed and reacted with flattened ears and a hiss. He didn't explain the reason for this sudden change of heart, but I suspect he was not happy about the scent of other cats from my cat bag. Now, I was worried about running out of time before he decided to climb higher to get away from me.

I moved the cat bag to my other arm and petted and scratched his back end from behind where he could not sniff my hand. I gradually worked my hand closer toward his head and then grabbed him by the scruff and pulled the bag over him. He didn't complain or struggle, and I secured this boy in the bag and brought him down.

Laura took him inside and released him, and Sylvester was happy to settle back into a comfortable home. Laura sent this picture of him sleeping to me later that day.