Cat stuck in a tree?

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 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.

Rescue Highlights of the Year




Peanut Butter

A young and friendly tortie just showed up at Ashley and Dom's door, and their 10-year-old daughter, Landry, quickly became attached to her and named her Peanut Butter. The cat was a bit of a mystery. The neighbors did not recognize the cat, and no one else has responded to the Found Cat posts on social media. They are an animal-friendly family, so they continued to feed and care for Peanut Butter while they waited for the owner to be found.

Just a few days later, the family took a short trip and returned to find Peanut Butter up in a tree across the street in the neighbor's yard. Peanut Butter was about 30 feet high on a large limb of a tall oak tree. Despite all their efforts, they were unable to coax Peanut Butter down, so Ashley began to search the internet for ideas. That is when she found me and gave me a call.

This sounded like it would be a quick and easy rescue. They were located only 10 minutes from me, and the cat sounded very friendly with strangers. If all goes well, I could be done with this rescue in 30-to-45 minutes. When I arrived and assessed the situation, however, I realized I might have some troubles. There were some power lines running along two sides of the tree. They were only insulated service drop lines, but I still wanted to avoid them as much as possible. Also, in spite of the size and height of the tree, I had trouble finding a suitable place to install my rope.

I had a lot of trouble getting my rope installed, and each attempt caused more commotion in the tree near Peanut Butter and frightened her. She walked out to the end of her limb to get away as far as possible from all my noisy fights with the tree, and by the time I had finished installing my rope, she was in a position directly over some power lines and the street.

I climbed up to her limb, and, from that point, she was so far away I could not even see her behind the foliage. She knew I was there, and, despite her normally friendly nature, she was too nervous to take any chances with me. I tried to coax her to come to me, and the family tried to coax her as well, but Peanut Butter did not budge. After several minutes of failing to convince her of my good intentions, I decided to go out her limb to see how close I could get to her.

The limb showed some signs of rotting about eight feet away from the trunk. The limb was clearly alive and healthy beyond that point, but I could not be sure how strong it was. It was substantial enough that I could put some weight on it, but I secured myself from above to keep at least some of my weight off of it. Once I was in place there, I was just barely within reach of Peanut Butter with my nine-foot extendable pole.

I opened a can of food, put it at the end of the fully-extended pole and reached as far as I could toward Peanut Butter. I placed the food directly under her nose, and, fortunately, she responded to it. She sniffed it and then took a bite. I let her enjoy the food for a few seconds, and then I pulled it along the limb closer to me. Fortunately, she responded by standing up and walking down the limb to the food. I let her have another bite and then pulled the food a little closer. Again, she followed. While there were several times when she changed her mind, turned around and walked away from me, I was always able to get her to come back to the food. It took several minutes, but I eventually lured her all the way to within my reach. At that point, I reached out my hand for her to sniff, but, whatever it was she smelled, she did not like it and turned around and walked away. Again, I had to use the food to lure her back, and this time, I just skipped the usual sniff introduction and petted her on the head instead. She was fine with that, so I set the food down on the limb to let her eat some more while I got my cat bag ready.

She continued to eat while I prepared the bag on my arm. When I was ready, I petted her some more before pulling up the scruff of her neck and lifting her while I pulled the bag over her. She was secure in the bag now, so I took her down to the ground and handed her to Landry who had been anxiously waiting and was now very happy and relieved. The family took Peanut Butter inside and released her there while I packed up my gear.

Later that afternoon, I got this picture from Ashley showing Peanut Butter settled in a laundry basket for a long, comfortable nap. Later, she sent another sweet picture, this one of Landry holding Peanut Butter in her arms. At this point, we are not sure what Peanut Butter's future will be. We don't know if they will keep her or if the owner will be found or if they will find another home for her. But I know Peanut Butter is in good hands right now, and I hope to have an update to this story later.

Simba's Eighth Rescue

He was due. Simba, my record-holder for most rescues, has not been stuck in a tree for more than eight months, so I figured it was about time to hear from him again. Today, I did. Simba did it again and got stuck in a tree in his front yard, and this is the eighth time I have rescued him. If you think that I find his habitual behavior annoying, you would be terribly mistaken. Simba is among my most favorite cats to rescue, and when he does not get stuck in a tree for a while, I miss him terribly. I am actually happy to learn that he is stuck again and that I have another opportunity to go visit with him. He is always cooperative, and the rescue is usually quite easy. Not only is he relaxed and friendly, he is also beautiful.

Finding him in the tree was easy this time. He was only 20 feet high in the tree and crying out to us below. I picked out a large limb about 10 feet above him and installed my rope there. He calmly watched me as I climbed up to him and greeted me with his butt end as he stepped out on another limb to turn around. Instead of turning around, he turned back to me and looked at my lap. He has come down in my lap a few times before, and there was no reason not to do that again this time. After all, he was relaxed, we were not high, the ride down had only one small limb to pass, and he was in his own front yard and knew where he was.

I encouraged him to step down onto my lap, and he slowly placed both front paws on me. His back legs, however, remained on the tree for a while, as he pondered exactly where to put them. It seems like he gets bigger each time I rescue him, and he seemed to be a little too big to fit on my lap comfortably this time. But we made it work as I pulled him in a little closer to me, and we began our descent. We had to stop for a few seconds while I pushed us around a small limb, but it was a clear and easy ride the rest of the way down. Shortly before I reached the ground, as expected, he jumped down to the ground just as he had done in the past. He walked a large semi-circle around me, glanced at me with a nod of approval, and then Carol picked him up and carried him inside the house.

It was just another routine rescue for the coolest cat in town. He had been in the tree only since the previous evening, so his inconvenience lasted only half a day. Simba acted as if this had all worked out just the way he planned, and now he had important business that needed his attention such as eating and sleeping. So he went about his business, and I went about mine, happy to have had yet another encounter with the coolest cat in town.

I have no video or pictures of this rescue because of a camera malfunction. Honest. It was actually not my fault this time, and I am very disappointed. The picture above I had to steal from an earlier rescue. But I do have this picture of Simba after the rescue appearing to be a bit displeased with the interruption of his important business.