Whenever I am told that the cat I am about to rescue is feral, I know to expect difficulty. Feral cats are too afraid of people to allow me get close, so they either jump or climb higher. Fred was different. To my surprise, he allowed me to get very close to him -- so close, in fact, that the option of scruffing him into a bag was an option. Scruffing a feral cat is much harder and more risky than with tame cats, however. In the video, you may be able to hear me debating with myself the risks and merits of scruffing him while knowing I was asking for trouble. Ultimately, however, I made the mistake of giving in to the simplicity of the scruffing rescue method. Besides, I did not have a clear idea about how to get a net or rescue-pole noose around him while he was in that crotch of the tree.
As you will see in the video, the instant he felt my hand touch the tips of his fur, he reacted. I am always amazed at how quickly cats can react. He pulled away and used his strong hind legs to jump and twist his way out of my incomplete and inadequate grasp. I should have done a better job of holding him down so that I could pull the bag around him. I should have had my other hand ready to pull the bag around him sooner. All my poor decisions led to his twisting himself out of my grasp and falling to the ground. He ran off and appeared to be fine. It was not a long fall, but it was a fall he should not have had.
This was my second dropped cat in two consecutive rescue attempts, and these mistakes on my part are difficult and painful to face. I could be dishonest and simply withhold these failures from the website to give you a rosier impression of my cat rescue skills, but I post them for two reasons. For clients, it is important to know that this is a risky business and injury, or at least serious stress, to the cat is a real possibility. For me, it is important not only to face my failures but also to study them so that I can avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Fortunately, this case turned out well. Connie reported to me the next day that Fred was still doing fine and settling back into his routine. Hopefully, he has learned to stay out of that back yard in the future.