Booger is a four-year-old orange tabby boy who, for reasons unknown, climbed up a small tree in his yard and got stuck there. He was not high -- less than 20 feet -- but it was the location of the tree that made this rescue so unusual and difficult.
The tree was growing in the middle of some large and dense shrubs that were almost as high as Booger was. From my view as I stood on the ground and looked at the site, the lower part of the tree was completely hidden by the shrubs, and the shrubs appeared impenetrable. But as Dana showed me, some limbs could be pushed aside at one place to make room for entry to the base of the tree. There was not much room inside there, of course, and there were numerous small limbs from both the shrubs and the tree which poked my body and head from every direction.
I did not see a way to install a rope in the tree in the usual manner. Booger was in the top junction of the tree, there were power lines just beyond the tree, and the shrubs would make it impossible to install the rope anyway. So I pushed my way to the base of the tree and threw the end of my rope as best I could over the lowest usable branch and started climbing from there. It was difficult climbing as I pushed and broke limbs out of the way to make room for my body. With every move I made, limbs snagged on my clothing and got stuck in my harness, so I had to stop frequently to untangle them. The scratching and slapping of the limbs on my helmet made for a noisy climb, so I did not even notice when one limb managed to snare my helmet-mounted camera and fling it to the ground. By the time I discovered it, there was no way I was going to go through that gauntlet of limbs to retrieve it, so I left it there and continued the rescue without video.
Since I was struggling and making quite a bit of commotion, Booger understandably appeared a bit wary of me. When I got my head above the top of the shrubs, I talked to him in a calm and gentle way to let him know I was friendly. Of course, he was not convinced, but he stayed in place and reserved judgement for later. Once I managed to get close enough, I reached my hand up to him, and he seemed eager to sniff it. The scent was not conclusive to him either way, but at least it was a non-threatening introduction. As I inched closer and closer to him, we repeated this greeting several times until he decided to let me touch him. I petted him, and he finally felt certain that I was a good guy. Dana had told me he was a friendly boy, and as he relaxed more, he proved it by letting me pet him all over. Now that I was close, I could see what a big boy he was. I was especially impressed with the size of his feet. The toes of his back foot in particular were spread wide apart to get a good grip, and it looked so huge that I had to look at him again to be sure he was not a lion.
I wished I had my carrier with me, but I did not even bring it along because it would have been troublesome to haul it up through the obstacle course of poking limbs. After first inching my way as high as I could in order to be able to reach him comfortably, I prepared my cat bag on my arm. I broke several limbs in front of me to clear an area where I could hold him in the air while I bagged him. After those preparations, I petted him some more and waited for a good moment to grab him by the scruff. He let me pull him out of his perch without complaint, and I pulled the bag over him. Once he was in the bag, however, he felt betrayed and started complaining.
I brought him down and back out of the shrubs and gave him to Dana. She took him inside and released him there. As he emerged from the bag, he looked surprised as he surveyed his surroundings and discovered he was inside his own house, but then relief settled in and he made himself at home again. After a while, he settled down to finish that nap he was starting in the tree when I first arrived and interrupted him. Dana took this picture of him and sent it to me along with the picture above of us in the tree. I am grateful for these pictures, because, otherwise, I would have had no pictures of him to share.