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 301 - 400

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.



This is a story about a sweet cat that got stuck in a tree, so I don't want to talk about the nasty tree he was in, how it was smothered with a wild variety of vines, or how difficult it was to climb. I don't even want to mention how I could not see the structure of this crooked tree or find any suitable places to install a rope, or how the vines were so dense that I could not examine the junctions of the tree to see if they would support my weight. 
No, this is a story about a cat, so let's not get bogged down in the petty details about how the vines tested my patience and hampered my climbing by getting caught on my feet and gear and even prevented me from turning my head, or how some of the vines were so tough that I could not even break them out of my way. Talking about all the troubles and miseries I had trying to climb the tree would just take the focus away from the cat, so let's just not talk about that.

Instead, let me tell you about a three-year-old boy named Domino who, for reasons unknown, climbed a tree just on the other side of his back fence. That lot behind his house is overgrown, and the fence-line, volunteer tree that Domino chose to climb was thin and only forty feet high. Domino could have stopped in a large, comfortable resting spot about 30 feet high, but he went all the way to the top and did not know how to come back down. He was not visible most of the time because of all the foliage, but, once in a while, he got on a perch where he could poke his head above the foliage and talk to Sarah on the ground below. He had spent two nights up there before I arrived to rescue him.

I was pretty sure which tree he was in, but I wasn't positive because I couldn't see Domino from the ground. It wasn't until I climbed about 30 feet high that I saw him for the first time. He was concerned about me at first, but he let me make friends with him fairly quickly. He reached a paw out to touch my outstretched hand, and that got us off to a good start. He eventually came down his limb to get closer to me, but he could not go past the point where the limb curved downward too steeply. If I had had a carrier with me, I probably could have easily enticed him inside from that point, but it was unthinkable to bring a carrier into this thicket of vines. The only way I had to secure him was to put him in the cat bag. I couldn't get in a position to make a lap for him, so my only option was to grab him by the scruff and invert the bag over him. His back end was too entangled in the vines to pull him away freely, so I really needed him to come down that steep part of the limb at least a little bit. It took some time, but I eventually got him to come down far enough to get his back end out of the tangles, and I grabbed him by the scruff and secured him in the bag.

Once we were back on the ground, Sarah took Domino inside the house where her worried four-year-old daughter was waiting for him. Domino was fine, the whole family was relieved and grateful, and I packed my gear and rushed home so I could wash the poison ivy off my body. But let's not talk about that.