This time, the reason that Skittles has gone without food for days is because she is stuck in a tree. She went missing on Christmas Eve and was not found until five days later. Roy, his wife, Karen, and daughter, Amber, all tried to get her down, but Skittles just would not cooperate. Roy climbed a ladder and got very close to her, but Skittles simply lived up to her name and moved away from his reach. On the sixth day, they found me, and I went out there to see if I could help.
Skittles was in an oak tree that was across a busy street from the house on a plot of land where there was no foot traffic. The tree was just feet from the edge of the road, and the noise of the almost-constant traffic overwhelmed Skittles' weak cries for help. Though people were passing close by her daily, no one could notice poor Skittles. It was only for the fortunate timing of a lull in the traffic while Amber was outside calling for her, that Amber finally heard her and tracked her down.
Skittles was only 20 feet high and about 15 feet out on a limb. Since the tree was pretty large, she had a lot more room to run to get away from me, so I wanted to be sure that I minimized that risk. I think she was just too tired to have much of a reaction to the commotion I created during the installation of my rope, and she stayed where she was. Fortunately, the limb she was on was relatively short, so she would be limited in how far she could get away from me once I climbed up to her.
I climbed up close to the trunk and blocked Skittles' upward escape route. Since she was trapped, she might decide to jump, so Roy and a friend stood guard below with a tarp to catch her. I talked sweetly to her and offered her some food, but she was unimpressed and turned her back to me. I put the food on the end of an extendable pole and placed it just behind her. She turned around, sniffed the food and took a few bites. This was a good sign, and I thought I now would be able to lure her all the way to me and into a carrier. But I was wrong. I pulled the food down the limb a few feet, and she reluctantly followed. Once she sniffed the food again, however, she seemed to change her mind. She turned around and went back out to her original perch at the end of the limb.
I put the food away, put my cat bag on one hand and began to work my way slowly out to her. I wanted to get close enough that she could sniff my hand and, hopefully, make friends with me. I inched my way out toward her, and, when I was just barely within reach, I stuck my hand out to her. She made a motion to back away, but she was already out as far as she could go. I pulled my hand back, inched my way slightly closer and then stuck my hand out again. This time she did not back off, but she didn't sniff my hand either. I pulled my hand back and, again, reached it out to her. This time she sniffed it. We were making progress, so I spent several minutes doing that until she would let me touch her. She was not comfortable with my touch at first, but she tolerated it. After a few minutes, however, she welcomed it when I stroked her neck and back, and she pushed her head and back upward into my hand. We were friends now, and she was clearly more relaxed now.
After a few minutes enjoying our new friendship, I grabbed the scruff of her neck, pulled her out of her perch and pulled the bag over her. She was secure now and headed home. I brought her down and handed her over to Roy who took her home and released her. She immediately began to eat and then get settled back into her home. Karen sent this picture of her to me later, and I am very happy to see Skittles stretched out and sleeping comfortably after such a long, miserable time in a tree.