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 are the stories of my two most recent rescues.  For these 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.


Unknown Tabby

This cat is a bit of a mystery. She was stuck in a tree at the edge of a wooded area next to a little-used, residential, dead-end road far out in the country. It is remarkable that anyone even noticed this cat, since she was not easy to see. But Amy lives down the road a bit, and she noticed her. It was the cat's frequent, loud crying that led Amy to her, and it was Amy's persistence in finding help for her that eventually saved her. We don't know exactly how long this cat was in the tree before Amy found her, but by the time Amy made her own, creative attempts to rescue her and arranged unsuccessful attempts by others, six days had passed before someone referred her to me.

Except for the difficulties of installing a rope in the tree with the woods on one side of the tree and a ditch and road on the other, the kitty's rescue was pretty simple and easy. Though she was frightened by the disturbance I created in the tree when installing my rope, she calmed down by the time I climbed up to her, and she never moved from her original position. She was resting next to the trunk of the tree in the crotch of a large limb about 25 feet high.

When I first climbed up to her, she did not appear particularly scared of me, but she wasn't making friends with me either. After a couple sniffs of my hand, however, she let me touch her, and then she began to warm up to me. It was when I opened a can of food that she really perked up and stood up for the first time. She was hungry and ready for the food, so I gave her a bite and then put the food in the back of the carrier. After a minute of hesitation, she stepped in the carrier for the rest of the food, and I closed the door and brought her down.

Fortunately, Amy kindly and generously agreed to be responsible for the cat and keep it temporarily until the owner can be found. We closed ourselves up in her vehicle so the cat could not escape and then transferred it to Amy's cage. As it turned out, the cat was not at risk for escape. She seemed more interested in getting and giving some rubbing than anything. I tried to check her for a microchip but did not find one, though with all her constant movement, it was difficult to do a thorough search.

Amy checked with her neighbors and created a post on the Lost Pets web page, but as of this writing, the owner has not been found. If the owner is not eventually found, Amy will find a good home for the kitty. While I refer to the cat as a "she," the fact is that I never was able to determine the gender definitively, so a correction may be needed in the future.


Muses is a sweet, one-year-old, white-and-black kitty in Baton Rouge who slipped out the door with her canine siblings and then got stuck in a tall Pine tree in the next-door neighbor's yard. Unfortunately, Muses picked a bad tree for a cat to climb, because there were no limbs suitable for a cat to perch within easy reach. She had to climb 60 feet high before she found a dead, broken stub where she could settle. She stayed there all night while Sherry and her family worried about her and tried to figure out what to do, but the next morning, Sherry found me.

Muses was frightened, so I climbed up to her slowly, pausing often to give her some sweet talk and sweet eyes and time to see that I was not threatening. At one point I saw her looking upward for an escape, but, thankfully, she did not climb higher. In time, she calmed down enough to let me approach her and make friends with her. When I began to pull the carrier closer, however, she appeared to get uncomfortable with it, so I quickly put it away. I did not want to risk her climbing any higher in the tree, especially with a bald eagle circling high overhead. Instead, I bagged her as gently and quickly as I could. She was not happy about that, but I consoled her as best I could. Hopefully, that was all soon forgotten, since a minute later, she was safely back down on the ground, and Sherry took her inside to release her. After getting settled back inside, Muses, as she often likes to do, went to sleep on top of her doggie brother.