Hollie even called the local fire department, but the weather had made it too muddy for them to get their ladder truck close to the tree. Fortunately, one of the firemen knew about me and actually called me himself from the site. By this time, however, poor Charlie had been stuck in the tree for eight nights. It was well past time for me to get out there to get Charlie down.
Charlie became a member of Hollie's family six years ago when Hollie was driving with her daughter and they noticed a cat and four kittens on the side of the road. They stopped and found that the mother cat was dead, so they picked up the four kittens and took them home. They found a good home for three of the kittens, but they kept the fourth one, a gray tabby girl, and named her Charlie. So now, after six years of living happily with a loving family, Charlie finds herself stuck in this large, vine-covered tree.
Fortunately, Charlie stopped climbing when she reached the first large branch even though there was plenty more tree to climb above that. The crotch where she was perched was large enough that she could get reasonably comfortable. The tree was located in the next-door neighbor's back yard, and the neighbors were gracious and accommodating to allow me to park my truck near the tree. The tree was covered with numerous vines, including poison ivy, and those vines made it more troublesome to get my rope installed in the tree.
When I climbed up to Charlie, I could see that she was getting nervous. Hollie had already told me that, while Charlie is generally a very friendly cat, in a tree she gets more skittish, even when her own family rescued her the first two times. I climbed slowly and calmly upward while watching Charlie. When I reached her height, I was still out away from her about three or four feet, but for Charlie that was too close. She turned away from me and began to climb straight down, head-first, on the opposite side of the trunk. I felt sure she was going to go down as best she could and either fall or jump, but she stopped and held her position there. I backed off a little and stayed calm so she would feel less threatened. I gave her a few minutes, and, fortunately, she reconsidered and came back up to the crotch.
As I calmly spoke to her and tried to reassure her, I could see her looking both up and out the branch and straight up the trunk for an escape route. If I approached her now, she would surely take one of those routes, so I stayed still and calm to give her time to settle down. I needed to make friends with her so she would not make this rescue much more difficult. After a few minutes of calm, I opened a can of food for her. I could see by her reaction that she was interested, but I also knew that she was likely feeling too stressed to eat it. Still, I wanted to offer it to her to establish a friendly relationship. When I extended my hand holding the food toward her, however, I could see her backing up again. So I pulled it back, attached the food to the end of a pole, and slowly brought the food toward her. Now, she was more receptive, since I was staying a safe distance away. It took her a minute or two to consider this food I was giving to her, but she eventually came to accept it. She sniffed it and took a bite. Yep, this was good. She ate some more.
I pulled the food back to see if she would now let me hold the food in my hand. I slowly approached her with the food, and this time she was less afraid of me, but she still backed off some. She was no longer interested in the food, but I had achieved my goal of getting her less afraid of me. I gave her some time and gradually tested the boundaries until she was comfortable with my being closer. When I could reach out to her, I let her sniff my hand and then pulled it back. Eventually, I gently touched her back, and she tolerated it. Each time I pushed the boundary, I pulled back again. After a few minutes, I was finally able to touch her head and pet her, and she relaxed and became much more trusting and comfortable with me.
Now I knew I could bag her, so I prepared the gloved bag on my hand and arm. Again I approached her and petted her to reassure her. I gently massaged her scruff and then slowly grabbed the scruff, picked her up and pulled the bag over her. This cat was in the bag. Down we went where Hollie and her two sweet daughters were waiting.
I handed the bag to Hollie, and she carried Charlie home with the two daughters and me following. We went inside, and Hollie released Charlie. Charlie looked around to be sure where she was and then emerged completely from the bag. She was relaxed and comfortable and ready for some food. Hollie fed her while I went back to pack up.
Even though Charlie had been in the tree for eight nights, she looked pretty good. She had lost some weight, as you would expect, but overall looked fine. She is in good hands, and I'm sure she will be fine.