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.

Cost
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.

Images

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

2018
https://youtu.be/DFUabWnwg2o

2017

2016

Noel

Noel is a six-month-old tortie who was a Christmas present that Brittany and Kenneth gave to their daughter. Noel is kept inside, but she managed to slip out the door and then got stuck in a tall tree in her front yard. Brittany and Kenneth did everything they could to get her down, but nothing worked. Thankfully, their neighbor learned about me through a comment from someone on Facebook, and they contacted me shortly before Noel's fourth night in the tree. I agreed to go out there in the morning to see if I could help.

When I arrived, I instantly heard Noel crying to me and watched her as she walked out on whichever limb would get her closest to me. Wherever I walked, she tried to follow. That is reassuring to me as it indicates that she will likely come to me in the tree. I met Brittany and Kenneth and started installing my rope in the tree.

Noel handled the rope installation just fine and was no more distressed than before. I climbed up to her while she paced back and forth on the more level parts of her long limb crying to me to hurry up. When I eventually pulled myself close to her, she readily walked up to my outstretched hand to sniff, but she was also cautious about getting too close. She sniffed my hand for a long time as if she had to carefully analyze hundreds of pieces of information and organize it in a meaningful way to make sense of it all. When I made a small move to touch her, she backed off immediately, but she always readily came back to sniff some more. I have never had a cat sniff my hand for so long before, but I was happy to give her as much time as she needed.

It took her a few minutes, but eventually she processed all the information she took in and decided I was okay. She walked up to me and let me touch her back and pet her. It was all good now, and we were friends. After a minute of cementing our new friendship, I pulled up a carrier to see if she would walk into it. She was interested, but skipped past it on the first attempt. I pulled it away and put it back down again, and this time she readily walked up to it and gave it the thorough Noel sniff test. After sniffing the entrance, she decided it was okay to go inside for further investigation. She stepped almost all the way inside with only her two back feet still outside. While she continued to sniff inside, I decided to take advantage of the moment and just push her back feet inside while closing the door. As I did so, Noel reacted with a hiss as she turned around, but by then it was too late. She was securely inside the carrier and didn't seem very disturbed by it.


I brought her down and gave her to Brittany and Kenneth. We took her inside to release her, but she quickly slinked off to hide behind the furniture, and I never saw her again after that. But she is safe at home now, and the stressful ordeal is over.



Tweety

Dana has a big heart and cannot turn her back when she sees an animal in need of rescue. She has helped all manner of creatures, and when she saw that pregnant cat in need of help eight years ago, she did not hesitate to take it home. She was there when the cat introduced five new kittens to the world, but, sadly, three of them did not survive. Dana kept the two survivors, one black and white, the other a gray tabby, and named them Sylvester and Tweety. Eight years later, the two brothers and their mama are still with Dana and are deeply cherished members of her family.

It was Tweety, the gray tabby, who recently caused so much worry and stress for Dana. Tweety is strictly an indoor cat, but someone left the door open, and Tweety decided it was time for an adventure. He climbed one of the many trees next to the house and quickly learned about one of his limitations that he had never faced before: he did not know how to climb down. He settled into a small crotch about 40 feet high near the top of the tree and cried down to Dana below. Dana tried to coax him down, but he was unable to figure it out.

Thus began Dana's four days of torture as she struggled to find some way to get Tweety down. She called the Fire Department, Animal Control and anyone else she thought could help, but the only thing she gained from her efforts was frustration. The constant worry was taking a toll, and the stress of it all made it impossible to sleep. At last, someone told her about me, and Dana contacted me right away. I told her I would be happy to get Tweety down, but the weather was turning bad, and rain was expected all the next day. I told her that I would watch the weather and let her know when I saw a break that would allow me enough time to get there and rescue Tweety.

The weather forecast was not promising, but as the day progressed, it began to appear that the latter part of the afternoon might bring a break. Once it became clear that the weather would be calm enough for me, I began driving to Dana's home out in the country near Gulfport, Mississippi, and I should have enough time before dark to complete the rescue.

When I arrived, Dana was outside by the tree waiting for me. She pointed to Tweety up high near the top of the tree, and I pondered how I was going to reach him. Tweety was at the top of a very long branch that angled out from the trunk at a 45 degree angle for a long distance before turning straight up. The only place to install my rope was in the crotch where Tweety was resting, and I was concerned about adding my weight at that point where it would have significant leverage on the branch where it is attached to the trunk. The trunk was clearly alive at that point, but it was also clearly long dead several feet above that point. I could not be sure how strong the attachment point was and if it could handle the added stress of my weight. There were no other trees tall enough and close enough to climb instead, so I decided to install my rope in the crotch where Tweety was and install a separate backup rope in a nearby tree to hold me in case the branch broke.

Tweety handled the installation of my rope pretty well in spite of the difficulties I had. I had to shoot my weighted bag just over his head three times before I got it precisely located, and while the rope installation made him nervous, he had calmed down by the time I climbed up to him. Dana had told me that Tweety was a friendly, sweet cat, and I really needed that to be true, since I needed him to come to me. I would be able to reach up just to where he was, but getting any higher than that would be difficult and risky for me.

I climbed up to him slowly and gently, because my weight caused the top of the branch to sway quite a bit. Tweety stayed just a few feet away and watched me. Once I climbed up just as high as I could go, I reached out and talked to him. He studied me for only a minute before deciding that I was okay. He stepped down toward me and sniffed my outstretched hand. He let me touch his cheek with my fingers, and then we both relaxed. He came down closer into the crotch which is where I needed him to be. I petted him some more, and our friendship seemed pretty solid.

I pulled up the carrier, opened it and held it up above my head for him to see if he would step inside. He was not disturbed by it, but he was not interested in it either. After a short break, I tried again with the same result. I opened a can of food for him, and he watched impatiently as I got it ready for him. When I held the food up to him, he took one of the biggest gulps I have ever seen by a cat. Two more gulps like that, and the entire can of food would be gone. I held the food up to him one more time while holding it in front of the carrier. Again, he took a big gulp, and then I placed the food in the back of the carrier. I held the carrier up to him, and he hesitated for a few seconds before stepping inside. Once he was all the way inside, I pulled the carrier down, closed the door and brought him down to the ground.

Dana's torture was finally over, and the huge smile on her face as she came to get Tweety from me was priceless. That is what I love to see. She took him inside the house and released him there. After a little while, she came back out to return the carrier as I was packing my gear. The resolution of all the stress of the past four days finally overwhelmed her, and she cried as she handed the carrier to me. She thanked me profusely and gave me a big hug, as she said, "You don't know what all I have been through." But I do know. I don't know specifically everything that Dana has been through, but I know most of what people go through when their cat gets stuck in a tree. That's why I do this, and that is why it is so rewarding.