I found her in the tree walking along a branch about 12 feet high and calling urgently for somebody to help her. She walked on the branch toward me calling to me as I approached her, so it appeared that she would be a cooperative kitty. She also demonstrated to me that she could walk the branch down to the trunk of the tree which was even lower. Since she was cooperative and low enough, I saw no need to climb the tree. This was a case where the ramp seemed like the best rescue option.
I had two 12-foot carpeted 2x4s which I strapped together with a 2-foot overlap to make a 22-foot ramp. I placed one end of the ramp at the base of the branch and rested the other end on the ground. She noticed my handiwork and came to investigate it. After she gave it a sniff and then a foot test, she got on it and walked right on down to me. I picked her up and gently held and petted her, and she immediately started purring.
When I opened a can of food for her, she recognized the sound and knew what it meant. She had no patience for my food preparations and started climbing my leg to get to the food. I added some water to her food and she ate ravenously. She was a little kitten, and I did not want her to eat the whole can for fear that she would over-do it and throw it up. After she ate more than half the can, I took it away from her but gave her more water.
I scanned her for a microchip, but, not surprisingly, she did not have one. Since the park she was found in is called Lanier, I decided to call her Lanie. She had no fear around me or the other people who were there at the time and was clearly a tame little girl. If she had a home, I had no idea where it would be, and Lanie could not tell me. I felt I had no other option but to take her to the local animal shelter, post a Found Cat notice on the local Lost and Found Pets web page, and hope that her owner would find her. So that is what I did, and it was with a great deal of sadness that I left her there, miserable in her cage. I took this picture of her just as I was leaving. She had been betrayed by the man who released her from the big tree prison only to put her into a small wire one.
This is the only picture I have of her, and it is a poor representation of her character. This is not the way I want to remember her. Unfortunately, because I did not need to climb the tree, and because the rescue events unfolded so quickly, I did not have my helmet-mounted camera with me as she walked down the ramp. The look on her face as she came down the ramp to me is how I would like to remember her, and I wish I could show that face to you here.
I am working to transfer her over to a cat organization that will foster her and make her available for adoption, assuming that her original owner is not found. I will update this page as her story unfolds.
Four days later...
There have been some interesting developments in Lanie's story. First, we will need to modify Lanie's name a bit because I have learned that Lanie is a boy, not a girl. With that new piece of information in mind, I will now change his name to Lane. On the day I rescued him, I never did get an adequate look at him to determine his gender, but I thought it was probably a girl. When I dropped him off at the animal shelter, the guy there told me with certainly that it was a girl. The veterinarian who neutered him, however, overruled us both with unquestionable authority.
More importantly, through the difficult work of some friends with connections, they were able to gain Lane's release from the animal shelter and place him in foster care until he can be adopted. I went to see him and check on him, and he is doing fine. Just like the day I rescued him, when I picked him up, he settled into my arms and started purring. He is now in the hands of a very conscientious and caring foster parent who is happy to keep him and care for him as long as is needed. So, this little spunky boy is now available for adoption and would make a loving and entertaining addition to an appropriate home.