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.

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




Sherlock was only 6-months old when he had his first experience with tree-climbing. As a healthy, energetic, gray tabby boy, he had no trouble at all climbing up and very quickly and proudly found himself 35 feet high. But when he wanted to go down, he discovered he couldn't do it. If there was a secret to going down, he didn't know it. It seems that his mama never taught him how to do that.

Fortunately, Triche saw his plight and sprung into action. Triche took Sherlock from her daughter and grand-daughter when they became concerned about Sherlock's safety around his large, canine brothers. Triche called the local fire department, and they actually sent someone out there with a ladder. The fireman saw that he could not reach the cat with his ladder, so he called me. After talking with him and Triche, I agreed to go out there to see if I could get Sherlock down.

I had some difficulties getting my rope installed in the tree, and the commotion I created caused some concern for Sherlock. He climbed up a little higher and came to rest on another limb. While he is normally a very friendly and docile kitty, I was concerned that I had scared him enough to cause him to fear and avoid me in the tree.

As I climbed up to him, however, my concern melted away as I saw the way he greeted me. His body language and voice reassured me that all was well and that he was very happy to see me. He stayed relaxed as I came level with him. He sniffed my hand and let me touch him. He stood up and stretched and then rubbed his head on the branch. Very quickly, we were friends.

I thought he would readily walk into the carrier, so I opened the door and held it up to him. He looked inside but did not go in. He was not alarmed; he just didn't see any need to go inside. I opened a can of food and held it in front of him so he could have a few bites. He ate readily and then watched as I moved the food inside the carrier. Again, I held the carrier up to him, and he easily walked all the way inside. I pushed his tail inside and closed the door. Easy rescue.

I brought him back down and handed him to Triche. She took him inside and released him there. Of course, he was doing just fine, since he had been in the tree only six hours at the most. Triche was very relieved too, and was happy to report to her daughter and grand-daughter that Sherlock was now safe.

Tahli's Second Rescue

It was just eleven days ago when I rescued Tahli, and now he needs to be rescued again. In fact, he is in the same spot in the same tree. Same song, second verse.

I was not happy with the way his rescue worked out the last time, because we had some bad luck that scared him and caused him to back away from me in fear. He ended up falling 10 feet into another nearby tree where a good neighbor stood up on a ladder and brought him down. While it all worked out in the end, it was a scary experience for Tahli, and I wanted to be sure I was extra careful with him this time. He is a friendly boy, and I want to be sure that I make friends with him this time and bring him down in a more comfortable and secure way.

At his last rescue, the bad luck started when I shot the weighted bag over the limb I wanted, and it got tangled in the foliage of another nearby tree. It took some noisy and violent pulling to get it free, and that is what scared Tahli. This time, I decided to play it safe and just hand-toss the weighted bag over a limb well below him and slowly work my way up to him from there. Tahli handled the toss of the weighted bag just fine, but when I pulled the rope over that limb, I could hear him getting more nervous. I was beginning to have some doubts about making friends with him in the tree, but I continued to prepare to climb and hope that he settled down a bit.

Since his last rescue was a little traumatizing and so recent, I was worried that he would remember me and get scared just at the sight of me approaching. For that reason, I decided not to wear my helmet as I always do. I wanted to look a little different, and I couldn't change my face, as many have so often wished. So, the only thing I could do to look different was to remove my helmet. There was no dire need for a helmet in this tree, so I would be fine. The only downside was that I would not be able to use my helmet-mounted camera to record the rescue. Getting him down easily and safely is more important than the video and pictures, so it's an easy decision to make.

I climbed up to him very slowly and talked to him all the way. He moved around a little bit, but stayed in the same area. I worked my way up closer to him, and when I was barely close enough to reach my hand up to him, I gave him a chance to sniff my hand. He did so for a long time, and I was so pleased that he was allowing me to be this close. I inched up a little more and reached my hand out to him again. He had moments of nervousness, but he stayed in place and always seemed willing to let me place my hand close to him again. At last, he let me touch his cheek as I brushed it with one finger. Then he let me touch the top of his head. He relaxed a bit, and I felt much more confident that this was going to work out. He was trusting me now, and we were finally friends.

I offered him some food, and he readily took it. I let him lap up some of it and then pulled it away to put in the carrier. As soon as I began moving the carrier up closer to him, I could see that he was getting very nervous about it. I was not going to risk scaring him away now, so I did not pull it up any higher. I put it away and got myself in a better position to use the bag instead.

I prepared the cat bag and offered some more food to Tahli. He ate some more while I petted him. When we were ready, I pulled up on his scruff and began to lift him off the limb. I pulled the bag over him, and he never made a sound. This kitty was in the bag now.

I brought him down and handed him to Kathy. She took him inside and released him there. He went straight to the litter box to take care of urgent business and then he was ready for some good eating. After I packed up, Kathy brought him back outside so I could see him and take this picture. He still let me pet him while she held him. He really is a friendly boy. He just gets spooked easily in a tree.