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.



I didn't know what to do with Suki. I thought this rescue was going to be simple, quick, easy and pleasant. Suki was on the lowest, dead stub of a limb in a tall Pine tree in her next door neighbor's yard in Denham Springs, and she was pleading for anyone to help her. She is a sweet, one-year-old girl who looked ready to cooperate with me to get her down, even though she had been in the tree only eight hours or so. I climbed up to her, and she readily greeted me and made friends with me. She was ready to go; all I had to do was bring her down.

I pulled the carrier up to her, but she seemed a bit uncomfortable with that. Rather than risk her climbing higher in this tall tree, I just put the carrier away. No problem. I will just bag her. I prepared the cat bag on my arm, and then I learned that Suki HATES the scent of any other cat. I don't typically wash my cat bag between rescues, so the bag held the scent of several cats that had been rescued prior. Suki could smell the scent of those cats on the bag as well as on my hands which had just handled the bag. Suki began to hiss and growl. She would not have anything to do with me. Every time I put my hand anywhere near her, she would hiss and growl some more.

Fortunately, Suki was not climbing higher in the tree to get away from me, but I was at a loss. She did not like the carrier, the food I offered had no appeal to her, the cat bag is out of the question, and she certainly is not going to step onto my lap now. I was not prepared for this. I didn't know what to do. I could go back down to get a rescue pole and net, but that just seemed so much trouble for a cat in easy reach. I was pondering my options when Suki turned her head all the way around to look at something behind her. I instantly decided to take advantage of this opportunity and grab her by the scruff and bag her. I can't show the video of this rescue, because Suki's language at this point is not suitable for adults, much less younger viewers. You will just have to imagine how vocal and mad she was at me for doing that and then stuffing her inside a bag with the scent of other cats. I felt badly about doing it, but there were no pleasant options left. The best I could do now was to get her out of the bag as soon as possible, so I hurriedly went down and handed her to her owner to release inside.

Suki was still fuming even after getting out of the bag and safely in her house, but she eventually settled down and became her sweet self again. Just don't touch any other cat and expect her to be happy to see you. And if I ever need to rescue her again, you can be sure I will have a very clean, scent-free bag with me.

Baby Boy and Wiggles

When her neighbor's cat had a litter of kittens, Jaime knew that she would have to be the responsible one and take care of them. She did the right thing and raised them, had them all spayed or neutered, and then found a home for each. All, that is, except this one gray tabby boy. She did not intend to keep him or even name him, but two years later, he is one of the family, and the family still refers to him simply as Baby Boy.

Baby Boy got stuck in a tree in the back yard during some cold weather, and Jaime was worried about him. After she failed in all her efforts to get him down or find someone who could, she finally found me, and I went out there to her home in Bush, Louisiana the next morning after Baby Boy's second cold night in the tree.

Baby Boy had a sad, pitiful cry as I prepared and climbed up to him, and when I began to get near him, he got scared. He had no place to go, since he was already near the top of the tree and the limbs were too short to go far, but after he got a sniff of my hand and felt the gentle pets on his head and back, he relaxed and made friends with me. I thought he would readily walk into the carrier, but he proved me wrong. He was not afraid of it; he just saw nothing there attractive. I opened a can of food and let him have a bite before putting the food in the back of the carrier. He eventually stepped halfway inside the carrier, but would go no farther. After a few more unsuccessful attempts to get him inside, I gave up and put him in the cat bag instead.

I brought him down to Jaime, and she took him inside to release him. He was clearly happy to be inside his warm home where he had his food and comfortable places to sleep.

It was late in the afternoon when I got a message from Joanie in Folsom. Her cat, Wiggles, was stuck in a tree. I rescued Wiggles once before almost two years ago, and Joanie was hoping I could rescue her again very soon. Since I could not get there before dark, I told her I would be there in the morning, but Joanie was worried about Wiggles and also had important plans for the next morning which could not be changed. She asked if I could do it that evening, and, after she sent a picture of the tree to me that appeared reasonably easy to climb, I decided I would.

The tree looked worse in person than it did in the picture. It was covered with poison ivy vines with leafless sprouts radiating in every direction all the way up the trunk of the tree. The tree was also crowded between other trees which made getting my rope installed more difficult. But Wiggles and Joanie were patient, and I was soon climbing up to Wiggles. Fortunately, Wiggles was on a short limb and could not go far away from me, so she stayed where she was but was not particularly happy about it. From her last rescue, I knew not to even attempt to use the carrier, so I was prepared from the start to bag her. After I reached her and she let me pet her, I put her in the bag and brought her down.

Wiggles has a good life there with her two littermate sisters, and Joanie and husband, Mike, both take very good care of them. Her world will be a bit upset soon as the whole family will be moving to another state, but I have no doubt that Joanie and Mike will do everything they can to make the move as gentle as possible. So, if Wiggles has any plans for a third rescue, it looks like it will have to be done by someone else. Good luck, Wiggles.