Celeste was driving the car with her daughter when they noticed that something was thrown from the window of the car in front of them. Whatever it was, it landed on the side of the road, and the daughter noticed that it was moving. Celeste stopped and turned around so they could go back to see what it was. As they slowly approached the mysterious object, they were shocked to learn that it was a small kitten.
The kitten appeared to be fine and was just as cute as it could
be. It appeared to be a long-hair Siamese but with white toes. Being the animal lovers that they are, without hesitation or a second thought, they scooped up the bewildered kitten and took it home. As unlucky as the kitten was to be born into a family that would throw it from the car to the side of the road, it was even more lucky that it was Celeste and her daughter that were there to see. Others would have passed it by, but Celeste and her daughter were caring people who often fostered cats until they could be adopted.
They didn't intend to name her Tootie. It's just that when they would need to refer to this nameless kitten, somehow it was "Tootie" that came out, and it just stuck. Tootie didn't mind though. She was in a good home with a loving family and didn't care what they called her.
Two and a half years later, that kitten is now a beautiful adult cat living permanently with Celeste and her family. While she is an inside cat, somehow this Halloween night, she slipped out the door and soon found herself 40 feet high in the next-door neighbor's pecan tree. Celeste struggled repeatedly to get Tootie to come down, but Tootie just didn't know how to do it. She wanted down, but always tried to go head-first. That was fine for the long, mostly horizontal limbs, but when the slope became too steep, Tootie was stuck.
After exhausting all her efforts to get Tootie down, Celeste called her friend, Kimberly, for advice. Kimberly eventually found me and asked if I could help. I agreed to go out there the next morning.
When I arrived, Celeste led me to the tree in the neighbor's back yard. After spending three nights in the tree, Tootie was clearly ready to come down. She cried for Celeste and made frequent attempts to come down. She was so determined to get down that she actually managed to come down the long, steep branch that always stopped her before. She was now lower than ever, but still at an impasse and still needing rescue.
As I studied the pecan tree to find a suitable place to install my rope, Tootie continued to be on the move. Each time she moved, I had to change my plan. She eventually settled back into her original place, so I installed my rope where I could get close to her there. The activity of installing my rope frightened her, and she moved farther out a limb and became very quiet. I was disappointed in this, because she would normally be very friendly with strangers and would be an easy rescue if she were not scared. Now that she is scared, however, this rescue could be very difficult since she has some very long limbs to use to get away from me.
Even though I was now ready to climb up the tree, I waited for a while to give Tootie some time to settle down. I didn't want my appearance in the tree to be too closely associated with the scary rope installation activity. As it turned out, I didn't wait long enough. When I got up into the tree, she was still scared even though she was at least talking more now. She was settled down on a long limb about 12 feet from me and would not budge. I sweet-talked her and turned on my charm, but it didn't impress her one bit.
Since she normally comes running when she hears a can of food being opened, I thought I would have a good chance at getting her to come to me if I did the same. I opened a can of food while watching her response and was sorely disappointed to see that she had no reaction to it. Now my options were getting more limited.
It would take some effort, but I could work my way out the limb toward her to get closer, but she still had another 10 feet of limb to use to get farther away from me. I didn't want to risk giving her any more reason to fear me, so I decided to just be patient and give her time to learn to trust me. So I just sat there looking indifferent and as if I were there only to enjoy the beautiful weather. She did the same.
Nothing was working, so I decided to place the food at the end of a long pole to reach it out to her. Some cats will respond to the food as long as they don't have to get close to me to enjoy it. So I reached out with the pole and placed the food a couple of feet from her. She thought about it a minute and then seemed to be responding to it. She got up and moved closer to it very slowly. Once she reached it, she sniffed it and then settled back down without taking a single bite.
I gave her plenty of time to think about it and reconsider, but she did not show any more interest in the food. As I pulled the food away from her, however, she got up and began to move closer to me. I placed the food about halfway between us, and she continued to come toward it. Once she reached the food, however, she stopped and had no interest in it. Too slowly, I began to realize what she was thinking. She was not interested in the food right now, but the gesture of offering it to her was enough to convince her that I was friendly. She was trying to come to me, but I kept putting the food in front of her and blocking her path. So, I removed the food, and Tootie walked right up to me.
I reached out my hand to her, and she was very interested in sniffing it. After a short sniff, she let me touch her, and then she pressed her face into my hand. I petted her, and it looked like, at last, we were friends. Then she turned around and walked away a few feet. I was beginning to worry that she had changed her mind, so I reached out my hand to her again. Fortunately, she seemed very interested in my hand and came back to me to sniff it again. I petted her some more and relaxed a little thinking I practically had this rescue in the bag.
But I didn't have her in the bag. I didn't even have my cat bag on my arm yet. I pulled out the cat bag and prepared it on my arm, but while I did so, Tootie walked down the limb past me and down to another limb just below me. It took several more minutes before I could get her to come back to within my reach. Again, it was her peculiar interest in my hand that got her attention and interest, and when she came back to me, I was ready. She seemed to want to keep on walking past me again back to where she started, but I grabbed her by the scruff and pulled the bag over her. She fussed a little but did not struggle.
I brought Tootie down and handed her to Celeste who was waiting anxiously below. She took Tootie inside and released her there. Celeste had been agonizing over Tootie's plight for the past three nights and was very relieved to see that it was now over. After I packed up my gear, I went inside to check on them and was very gratified to see Celeste happily holding Tootie in her arms again. A few minutes later, I noticed that Tootie was on top of a table drinking water out of a fish bowl. The fish that were originally in the bowl are long gone, but this was Tootie's favorite place to drink, so they kept it there for her.
The video of the rescue was unusable because the helmet camera was bumped out of position without my knowledge. I was able to salvage only a few images from the video.