Lisa sent this picture to me of the cat stuck 25 feet high on the lowest branch of a large pine tree. The kitty was black with small white spots on her nose, a white bib, a white patch on her chest, some white toes and one white foot. When the neighbors were trying to help her, she cried to them and rubbed her head against the tree, so she was clearly a tame and friendly cat. This sounded like a quick and easy rescue to me, so I headed out even though I could see light rain on the weather radar picture.
When I arrived, I met Kristen and Tori who led me in the light rain to the cat. As I prepared to set my rope in the tree, they went back inside out of the rain. As I was setting up, the next-door neighbor came out and inquired about my activity. He expressed his concern for the cat and his gratitude for my coming to rescue it.
While this should have been an easy tree in which to set my rope, I kept having trouble getting my line over the branch I wanted. I had to shoot my weighted bag into the tree four times before I got it where I wanted. This activity scared the cat, and she walked out to the end of her branch and became very quiet. This often happens, but usually the cat calms down by the time I am ready to climb up. Not this cat. I climbed up to her branch, and she remained far out, motionless and quiet. She was not impressed by my sweet talk.
Still, I knew from her earlier behavior that she would eventually warm up to me. I just needed to give her some time and a little incentive. So I opened a can of food, and suddenly that cold shoulder gave way to a warm heart. She perked up and came walking up to me with her eyes on the food and no concern about me at all. I petted her soaking wet back and let her have a few bites of food.
In my usual over-confident way, I knew I had an easy rescue now. I knew that all I had to do was put that food in the back of the carrier, and she would walk right on inside. So I pulled the food away from her and began to lift the carrier. I had not pulled that carrier up any more than a few inches when she reacted to it. She was not having anything to do with that carrier. She knew what that was, and it was not good news. She turned around and quickly walked right back out that branch to the far end. She did not trust me anymore.
I have never seen such a strong reaction to the sight of the carrier before, and I worried that she might not forgive me. I wondered just how likely it would be for her to forget that and come back to me, and I wondered how long that would take. I was prepared to climb higher and come back down on top of her branch and walk out to reach her, but I didn't want to do that unless it was necessary. So I waited, sweet-talked her and kept showing the food to her.
It took several minutes, but she did eventually have a change of heart. The lure of the food was just too much for her, so she came back down the branch toward me. Just as before, she walked straight up to the food with no concern about me at all. I petted her and let her eat some more. I was already prepared with the gloved bag on my arm, so I massaged her scruff and then picked her up and pulled the bag over her. She did not fight it.
I walked her back to Kristen's house and released her in the storage room. I fed her and made friends with her. After she ate, she was very affectionate and rubbed all over me. I checked her for a microchip but did not find one. Kristen and Tori had already been thinking about what to do with her. They took a picture of her and posted it on their nextdoor.com website to see if they could find the owner, and I know they will continue to make efforts to locate her home. In the meantime, Tori, was loving this cat more and more and wanted to keep it herself. Her own tuxedo cat had just recently died, and she felt like this cat was meant to take its place. If the owner is not found, I have a feeling it will have a new home with Tori. After all, she already had a name for it: Luna.