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

Kingsley

We are not sure exactly how long Kingsley had been stuck in that tree. Richard was out of town for two days and found her in the tree when he returned. At first, heeding the world's faulty advice, he thought she might come down on her own, but when that didn't happen, he began to look for more realistic solutions. Richard's daughter, Alex, was Kingsley's actual owner, and she had been very distressed over Kingsley's predicament. Alex's fiance, Madison, was determined to do whatever it took to help his beloved, and in heroic, but foolish, fashion, he free-climbed the tree as best he could. He was unable to reach Kingsley, however, and came back down defeated but safe. It was on the third day that Richard found me through a search on the internet, and a couple hours later, I was there to assess the situation.

Richard did not mention on the phone that the cat was in a dead tree, but it certainly became obvious when I arrived. The tree was nothing more than a 30 foot tall pole with a broken off top and no limbs. Though we could not see her, Kingsley was comfortably perched at the top in the cavity formed by the rotted interior and surrounded by the broken, thin, outer shell of the decaying tree. Even from a distance, I could tell that the tree was not climbable, but I was delighted to see that there was a taller Sycamore tree close enough to it that I could use instead to rescue Kingsley.

Kingsley is a very sweet, four-year-old, gray tabby girl, and Alex adopted her as a kitten four years ago from Cat Haven, a local cat rescue and adoption shelter. I am always happy to hear when a cat has come from Cat Haven, because that is a good indication that it has been around many different people and is comfortable with strangers. Unless I make big mistakes in the tree to scare her, she should react well to me when I approach her.

The tree was on the bank of a small bayou, and the area around it was a little overgrown. Richard graciously began cutting all the annoying briers while I worked on installing my rope. After a little trouble getting my line in the tree, I was ready to climb.

From the ground, it appeared that I would have to go to the opposite side of the dead tree to see and rescue Kingsley, but after I climbed up to her, I was happy to see that she was visible and reachable from my side. There was a small Sycamore growing between us, and I used it to pull myself closer to her, but I was still not close enough. I threw a rope around the dead tree to use to pull myself even closer, but I had to be careful about how much force I put on it. From that position high in the tree, I could possibly have enough leverage to pull the entire tree down if the tree had weakened enough. When I was on the ground, the tree appeared to have enough structural strength to handle it, but I can never be certain. I pulled myself closer very carefully, and was relieved to see that it felt secure.


Kingsley was happy to see me. She was in a very cozy and secure nest, but the space was pretty tight. She poked her head out of her nest and greeted me. We spent a few minutes making friends and reassuring each other while I pondered how best to get her out of there.


If I held a carrier up to her, she could probably step into it, but I had had trouble bringing the carrier up with me through several tangles of vines and feared that I would not be able to give her a smooth ride back down. The bag seemed to be the best option, so I prepared the bag on my arm. I had to encourage Kingsley to come out a little bit so that I could get a good grip on the scruff of her neck, and when she eventually did so, I lifted her, both from below and by the scruff, out of her nest and pulled the bag over her. This little girl was now secure and headed back down to the ground.

Once on the ground, I handed her to Richard, and he and his wife took her inside to release her. Kingsley headed straight for her food and water where she got her fill and then began getting reacquainted with the comforts of home. The next day, Richard sent to me this picture of her licking her lips after eating and reported that she is well and happy to be on the ground.



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.