Kathy's friend had an unwelcome surprise dumped on her doorstep when an unknown pregnant cat showed up at her house, gave birth to twelve kittens and then left, never to return. That is a huge responsibility to place on anyone, but Kathy's friend decided to take on the challenge. Using droppers and bottles, she fed each of them as best she could and then found homes for all of them except two, one of which was the runt of the litter. Kathy is not a cat person, but she decided to help out by adopting these last two. Sadly, the runt did not survive, but the male brown tabby very quickly worked his way into her heart, and this "not a cat person" was now very fond of at least one cat. She named him Tigger.
Today, Tigger is a year and a half old and lives happily with Kathy and her family at their rural home near Kentwood. Recently, Kathy heard coyotes in the woods behind her home, and while she did not know it at the time, she now thinks that is when Tigger went missing. She walked several yards deep into the woods before she found Tigger up high in a tree crying to her below. He is not visible in this picture, but he was in the larger tree to the right and off to its left side near the top. Kathy tried everything she knew to get Tigger down, but he just did not know how to climb down. After five days of worry, stress and frequent unsuccessful attempts to get him down, Kathy found me and called. I went out there the next morning on Tigger's sixth day in the tree.
Kathy led me to the back, helped me get through a barb-wire fence and then helped me carry some gear through the woods to Tigger's tree. As expected in the woods, the view from the ground up into the tree was partially blocked by overhanging limbs and vines in the tree. My choices were limited for a suitable place to install my rope, but I picked one and cleared some privet over my head to clear a path to shoot my weighted bag into the tree. I had so much trouble getting the bag in the correct place, that I gave up and chose another place lower in the tree to install my rope. There, I had much better luck and soon had the rope installed, but the commotion I had created in the process scared Tigger, and he walked up and out as high as the tree allowed.
With my rope installed lower in the tree than I wanted, I needed more time to work my way higher to the top of the tree where Tigger was waiting. He watched me carefully and cried out every now and then with worry about this strange and scary man coming his way. Once I was within reach of him, he clearly felt trapped with nowhere to go, so I quickly worked to show him that I was not a threat. I talked sweetly to him and held my hand out to him. When he did not sniff my hand, I pulled it back, waited a few seconds and tried again. It took him a few times to get the courage to sniff my hand, but when he did so, it seemed to settle him down a bit. After a few more minutes of visiting calmly with him, he was clearly more relaxed, but he also remained cautious.
Tigger was sitting on a limb that was at least partially dead, especially immediately beyond him. If he went out any farther, that limb could break, and he would fall to the ground. I wanted to get him to come down closer to me where it was safer, so I opened a can of food for him. I could see him react in a positive way to the sound of the can opening, but he was not moving any closer. I held the food up to him so he could get a good sniff, and he was clearly interested though not quite ready to move toward it. I enticed him with it for a little while, and then he came down the limb a little bit to get it. I let him have a few bites and then moved the food lower. After a few minutes, he had come down to where I wanted him, and I was petting him freely.
Now that we were friends, I got my cat bag ready, something I wish I had done earlier. It is difficult to get my hand in the glove of the cat bag and get the bag over my arm properly while holding the food in the other hand. It took me a few minutes, but Tigger seemed to be patient while waiting for me to return the food to him, and I eventually got the bag ready, though it appeared not to be hanging as loosely as usual. I turned my attention back to Tigger and fed him some more while petting him. He was comfortable and relaxed, so I gradually pulled up the scruff of his neck, lifted him slightly and began to pull the bag over him. Unfortunately, it was then that I discovered that there was a problem with the bag. It seemed to be short, bunched up and tangled in some way that prevented me from finding the open end of the bag. Even though Tigger was taking it all in stride, I could not hold him, or any other cat, forever while I figure out the bag problem. I don't know exactly what was wrong, but the open end of the bag was tangled up inside, and I had to tug at it to free it and pull it completely around Tigger. I closed the opening and breathed a sigh of relief knowing that Tigger was secure at last.
I brought Tigger down and handed him to a much relieved Kathy. She carried him back home and released him there. As he emerged from the bag, he was surprised to find himself down on the ground and back home, but once he realized he was safe, he began looking for the food and water.
I packed up my gear and checked on him again before I left. He was still eating while the family hovered over him and petted him. I petted him one last time too and said goodbye. A little while later, Kathy sent this picture of him to me, and it pleased me greatly to see him confidently reigning over his territory again.