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.

Please consider watching this slideshow of my favorite images from my first 100 rescues, and I think you will understand just how meaningful and important this is both to the people and their cats.




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

2017
https://youtu.be/32Xqx0aoLlk

2016

Maleficent

Tara was going through a difficult time when she found a two-month old, black kitten that was in a bad situation. Tara adopted the kitten, took her home and named her Maleficent. Together they quickly developed a deep and meaningful bond which helped Tara as she worked her way out of her difficulties. Tara had rescued the kitten, but the kitten had also rescued Tara.

Today, Maleficent is six months old, and when she slipped out the door and became missing, Tara sprung into action to find her like any mother searching for her missing child. She soon found her up high in a tree in the back yard of a neighbor a few houses away. Tara was delighted to have found her, but also frustrated that she could not get her down. Tara would not rest until she got her baby down.  She and her boyfriend, Matt, both tried everything they knew to try, but Maleficent was too high and did not know how to come down on her own. In desperation, Tara called Animal Control, and they put her in touch with me.

When I arrived at the site, I found Maleficent, a cute, black kitten, almost 40 feet high sitting on the top of the trunk where the top of the tree had previously broken off. There were few good limbs to use to install my rope, and the only useful one was just under Maleficent. I installed my rope there and began to climb up to her.

Tara had told me that Maleficent could be cautious with strangers but also capable of making friends with them too. Since she was already at the top of the tree, she could not go any higher to get away from me, but she could walk laterally out the only limb that extended from the top. I approached her slowly and carefully in an effort not to do anything that would frighten her. She watched me approach and did not appear to be alarmed. Once I was close enough, I reached my hand out to her, and she sniffed it. I could not reach high enough to touch her at that point, so I inched my way a little higher. Several times, I reached my hand out to her, and she seemed more and more satisfied with each contact.

Maleficent stepped awkwardly down to the next lower limb to be closer to me, but she was not comfortable there on that small limb with her back legs still on the other limb above her. Still, that was a good sign, and it gave me an opportunity to touch her and pet her. I held the carrier up to her to see if she would walk inside, but she pulled back away from it, so I put it away. Even though she was comfortable with me now, she went back up to her upper perch to get in a more comfortable position.

I prepared the cat bag on my arm and encouraged her to come back down to that lower limb again where I could better handle her. She came back down again, and I spent another minute visiting with her and petting her. When we were ready, I picked her up and pulled the bag over her. She took it all in stride with little complaint.


I brought Maleficent back down to the ground, and Tara was there anxiously waiting for her. I handed the bag to Tara, and she gently cradled her baby in her arms and kissed her through the bag. They spent a moment there together getting connected again, and then she and Matt walked her home to release her.

Happy to be home, Maleficent reconnected with Tara, filled her belly with food and water, and then settled in for a very long nap. She had been in the tree only one night, but she slept very soundly the rest of the day.



Blackie

Pam's six-year old granddaughter, Allie, was distressed about her cat that was stuck in a tree. This had happened once before but with a different cat. When Allie's first cat got stuck in a tree, the fire department came out to help. Unfortunately, the way they chose to help was by aiming the water from their fire hose at the cat until it fell to the ground. While the cat survived the fall, he suffered some severe injuries to his spine and had to be put down. Now Allie's new kitten, which she named Blackie, was stuck in a tree, and all the efforts of everyone in the family to get it down failed. Allie was worried that Blackie would suffer the same fate as her first cat, and each night when she went to bed, she cried with worry for Blackie.

Blackie is a cute, eight-month old, black and white tuxedo cat, and for reasons unknown, she climbed up a large hickory tree next to the driveway. When I arrived, Blackie had been in the tree for four nights and was about 60 feet high and far out near the end of a long limb. As I prepared to climb the tree, Blackie moved around the tree quite freely. She came back to the trunk of the tree, came down some, walked out to the end of other branches on the opposite side of the tree and then returned to her original place. My rope installation process distressed her slightly, but I was pretty sure that she would be friendly to me once she had time to calm down.

I climbed up to where her limb reached the trunk while she watched me from a safe distance at the end of the limb. I talked to her a little, and she talked back. After only a few minutes, she decided that I was at least worth investigating further. She walked cautiously toward me but stopped when she got about five feet away. She turned around and went back a few feet because she was not yet convinced of my good intentions. After a few minutes, she came down toward me again, and this time came close enough to sniff my out-stretched hand. Usually, that act sets cats at ease, but Blackie seemed to sniff something troubling in my stinky glove and turned around and went back out again.

When I opened a can of food, however, she quickly overlooked all my faults and came down toward me again. This time, she came close and began to eat the food I held for her in my hand. In no time, I was petting her with my other hand, and she was perfectly comfortable with that. I pulled the food away and placed it in the back of the carrier while she watched. With no hesitation, she walked all the way inside the carrier. I closed the door and brought her down.

Once on the ground, I brought Blackie to Pam and then to Allie who was shy with me but, otherwise, all smiles. We all went inside and set the carrier down on the floor just inside the door. I opened the carrier, and Blackie darted out and to the back of the house to hide in her favorite hiding spot under Pam's bed. The food bowl in the carrier was empty, so Blackie had a full belly while she waited to emerge from hiding.


I packed up and left happy to know that Blackie was no longer suffering in the tree, and Allie would not be crying in bed tonight.