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.



Jill and Rachel both independently noticed the cat stuck in a tree for one night in a neighbor's yard in Covington, and both were very concerned about it. They did not know the cat, and it did not belong to the neighbor, but Jill recalled seeing the cat in the neighborhood before, because it looks very much like one of her own cats. The fire department came out to see if they could help, but they succeeded only in scaring the cat up to the tip top of the tree, and that is where I found him when I arrived.

I had doubts that I would be able to help this cat, because the tree was pretty small and skinny, and it was clear that I could not go all the way to the top of the tree within arm's reach of the cat. Using the rescue pole was the only option here, but I wasn't sure if I could safely get close enough to reach the cat even with that pole. After I installed my rope as high as I dared, I tested it to see how the tree reacted to my weight, and, while it swayed a bit, the movement was not excessive. I climbed up to the end of my rope and began testing the tree to see if I could climb any higher. I attached another rope to the other stem of the tree for additional support and climbed a little higher to a point where I was within reach of the cat with the rescue pole.

The poor cat was tired and uncomfortable up there with few places to put his feet. It was difficult to get him to move his front feet enough for me to slip the noose under them, but, after a few minutes of trying, I managed to get the noose around his body just behind his front legs. I tightened the noose and lifted the little boy out of the tree and lowered him into the net waiting by my side. I released the noose, but I could not get him to move enough to let me slip the noose off his body. I had to bring him to the ground with the pole loosely inside the bag with him.

Once on the ground, I slipped the noose off of him and handed him to Jill. Jill held him and comforted him inside the net while I retrieved my microchip scanner. I scanned him for a chip and found one. Unfortunately, the microchip company for this chip was one that I knew from past experience would not connect me to the owner quickly. Because I am not a veterinarian, shelter or charitable organization, they will not give me the contact information for the owner, which, by itself, is understandable. What I find unacceptable, however, is that they will not then put me on hold while they call the owner and either connect the owner to me or give them my contact information as other microchip companies do. Instead, they initiate a passive process of contacting the owner which they say may take two hours to complete. Why they choose to keep the owner, cat and me waiting that long, I don't know.

Jill and Rachel agreed to be responsible for the cat while they waited for the owner to contact them, and I packed up and left. I sent the microchip number to Catherine Wilbert at Big Sky Ranch, and, because that is a charitable rescue organization, she was able to get the owner's contact information which she then passed on to Jill and Rachel. The owner came shortly after that and took the poor kitty home, and it was then that we learned that the cat's name is Spot. While the ending was a happy one, it was simply longer and more complicated than it needed to be.

I want to thank Jill, not only for her concern for the cat, but also for providing the only pictures I have of the rescue and the cat. I am also grateful to Rachel for her concern and the property owner for graciously allowing me in his back yard to rescue the cat while other neighbors also gathered to watch.