Most cookies are sweet. Some are tough. But this Cookie was just scared. After all, he is only four months old, and this is the first time he has ever been in a tree. Cookie is a gray and white tabby kitten that got stuck in the River Birch tree just outside his front door, and he didn't have a clue about how to get down. Melinda was right there with him trying to help him down, but Cookie kept going higher and higher because that was the only direction he knew how to go. Melinda was very worried about her kitten and wasted no time in trying to find help. By the time she found and called me, Cookie had been in the tree only two hours.
When Melinda called me, I was concerned about the weather. We had been having frequent thunderstorms for the past few days and more were in the forecast. While there had been light rain this morning, it appeared to be easing off, and I didn't see any threat of thunderstorms for the near term on the radar picture. I took advantage of this break in the weather and went over there as soon as I could get ready.
When I arrived, I met Melinda and her neighbor, Cathy, who came over to help and lend support. They were standing under the River Birch tree which was close to the driveway. As is common with River Birch trees, this one had one stem that went roughly straight up and one other stem that leaned away over the driveway. I was so hoping that Cookie was not on the leaning stem, because I would be concerned about climbing it and causing the whole stem to fall. As I looked up into the tree, the only area of cat-size density that I could see was on the leaning stem, so I assumed that was Cookie. With the foliage blocking my view, however, it took me a few minutes to realize that was a large nest of some sort and not Cookie. It took some persistent pointing by Melinda and Cathy before I finally found Cookie, and I was relieved to see him out on a limb of the straight stem. He was only 20 feet high, but he was near the top.
Cookie had been with Melinda all his life, so he was a tame and sweet kitty. Melinda was even there to watch as he was born, so they had a strong bond with each other. I was hoping that Cookie would be friendly and happy to see me in the tree, but from the sounds of distress I was hearing from him even before I started doing anything, I could tell he was scared.
I installed my rope well below Cookie and began working my way up to him. He watched me and cried out with fear each time I advanced a little closer. If he had been on a long limb, I am sure he would have gone out farther to get away from me, but he was already as far out as he could go on his short limb. All he could do was watch me as I came closer. I did my best to console him, and maybe it helped, but he was still worried about me and not happy to see me.
I reached out my hand to him, but he was not interested. I had to push it even closer to his nose before he would take a sniff. He still was not convinced, of course, so I reached out to touch him. He didn't like that at first, but when he saw me pull my hand away and realized I had not hurt him, he did relax a little bit. He was out as far as I could reach, so I pulled myself up a little higher to get in a better position to reach him. This time I prepared my cat bag on one arm so I would be ready for him. Again I reached out my hand to him and let him sniff it. I stroked his cheek with one finger and then petted his head with my hand. He accepted this gesture but was still not comfortable. I gently grabbed his scruff, picked him up off the limb, and pulled the bag over him. He took it all without a single complaint.
I brought him down and turned him over to Melinda. She carried him inside and released him there. She was very appreciative and relieved to have her baby back home safe and sound.