Richard did not mention on the phone that the cat was in a dead tree, but it certainly became obvious when I arrived. The tree was nothing more than a 30 foot tall pole with a broken off top and no limbs. Though we could not see her, Kingsley was comfortably perched at the top in the cavity formed by the rotted interior and surrounded by the broken, thin, outer shell of the decaying tree. Even from a distance, I could tell that the tree was not climbable, but I was delighted to see that there was a taller Sycamore tree close enough to it that I could use instead to rescue Kingsley.
Kingsley is a very sweet, four-year-old, gray tabby girl, and Alex adopted her as a kitten four years ago from Cat Haven, a local cat rescue and adoption shelter. I am always happy to hear when a cat has come from Cat Haven, because that is a good indication that it has been around many different people and is comfortable with strangers. Unless I make big mistakes in the tree to scare her, she should react well to me when I approach her.
The tree was on the bank of a small bayou, and the area around it was a little overgrown. Richard graciously began cutting all the annoying briers while I worked on installing my rope. After a little trouble getting my line in the tree, I was ready to climb.
From the ground, it appeared that I would have to go to the opposite side of the dead tree to see and rescue Kingsley, but after I climbed up to her, I was happy to see that she was visible and reachable from my side. There was a small Sycamore growing between us, and I used it to pull myself closer to her, but I was still not close enough. I threw a rope around the dead tree to use to pull myself even closer, but I had to be careful about how much force I put on it. From that position high in the tree, I could possibly have enough leverage to pull the entire tree down if the tree had weakened enough. When I was on the ground, the tree appeared to have enough structural strength to handle it, but I can never be certain. I pulled myself closer very carefully, and was relieved to see that it felt secure.
Kingsley was happy to see me. She was in a very cozy and secure nest, but the space was pretty tight. She poked her head out of her nest and greeted me. We spent a few minutes making friends and reassuring each other while I pondered how best to get her out of there.
If I held a carrier up to her, she could probably step into it, but I had had trouble bringing the carrier up with me through several tangles of vines and feared that I would not be able to give her a smooth ride back down. The bag seemed to be the best option, so I prepared the bag on my arm. I had to encourage Kingsley to come out a little bit so that I could get a good grip on the scruff of her neck, and when she eventually did so, I lifted her, both from below and by the scruff, out of her nest and pulled the bag over her. This little girl was now secure and headed back down to the ground.
Once on the ground, I handed her to Richard, and he and his wife took her inside to release her. Kingsley headed straight for her food and water where she got her fill and then began getting reacquainted with the comforts of home. The next day, Richard sent to me this picture of her licking her lips after eating and reported that she is well and happy to be on the ground.