Scott was at work when he found a small kitten resting in a dangerous place under a pallet. Since there were no other kittens or mama cat anywhere near, he decided to take the kitten home with him. The female kitten was small enough to fit in his hand, but he and his girlfriend, Kelly, took care of it as it grew into the healthy, two-year-old adult that it is today. They named her Gravy, a name which may seem at first puzzling until you learn that she got along so well with their other cat, Biscuit.
Gravy went two houses down the street and got chased by a dog up a neighbor's backyard tree. After some searching, Scott finally found her the next morning on Easter and worked to get her down. Coaxing her down did not work, and she was too high to reach with a ladder. The sympathetic neighbors also offered assistance, but nothing was helping. After searching the internet, Scott found me and gave me a call. By this time, it was getting late in the afternoon on Easter Sunday, but if all worked out reasonably well, then I would have enough time to complete the rescue before dark.
After I arrived and met Scott, he led me to the neighbor's house where I met a very nice family enjoying a crawfish boil in their backyard, a common Easter ritual here in south Louisiana. They warmly welcomed us there and interrupted their eating to show me where the cat was in their tree. I looked up and struggled to see through the dense foliage before finding Gravy settled next to the trunk on a large limb about 25 feet high. The top of the tree leaned slightly, and I could find only one good place to tie my rope that would allow me comfortable access to the place where Gravy was settled. But, more importantly, I realized that I would not be able to do the rescue at that moment, because the family was eating their crawfish on a table set up under the tree. Under the tree is not a safe place to be for all the activity I had in mind, so I told Scott that this would have to wait till morning. When the neighbors overheard me say that, however, they insisted on moving their table as well as their vehicles which were also nearby even though they were in the middle of their meal. I helped them move their table and chairs to a safer place, and they settled back into their meal anxious to see the entertainment I was about to provide.
Scott told me that Gravy was definitely skittish with strangers, so she would likely try to get away from me. However, she was also capable of making friends with a stranger in time as long as they appear friendly. With that information, I wanted to be sure that I approached her very carefully, because she could climb up much higher either up the trunk or up her steeply-ascending limb, and it would be very difficult to reach her then.
I climbed up through the dense foliage with difficulty and stopped once I was about six feet below Gravy. She looked at me, and I spoke gently to her. I could see her looking up the trunk of the tree for an escape route, so I stayed there for a few minutes to give her time to calm down and see that I was not threatening her. Then I inched up a little higher, again talking to her and extending my hand toward her in a friendly way. She was staying in place, but she continued to look up the trunk for an escape. Each time she looked up, I gave her some more time before advancing any higher, and each time I moved higher, I did so very slowly and in small increments. After a while, I was just within reach of her, and I reached my hand out to her to sniff. Fortunately, she was very curious to sniff my hand and quickly reached down to do so. I let her sniff for a few seconds, and then I gently stroked her cheek with one finger. With that small gesture, I could see her melt with relief. She encouraged me to stroke her some more, and I happily did so. I inched up some more and was soon petting her freely, and she was enjoying it and pushing her head into my hand. I was very relieved to know we had established a friendship and that this rescue would likely be over soon.
Scott had told me earlier that Gravy was afraid of carriers, so I did not even bring it up into the tree with me. It would have been difficult to carry through the dense foliage anyway, so I prepared the cat bag on my arm and petted her some more. Gravy was still friendly with me and soon gave me an good opportunity to pull up the scruff of her neck. I gently pulled her off her perch and inverted the bag over her. This sweet little girl was now secured in the bag and ready to go home.
I went back down and handed the bag to Scott, and he promptly took Gravy back home where he released her. He came back a few minutes later to return the bag while I packed up my gear. He and Kelly were greatly relieved to have their beloved kitty back home and safe again. Scott helped me carry my gear back to my truck, and we both expressed our gratitude to the neighbors who were so extremely accommodating to allow us to disturb their family crawfish boil.
Even before I arrived back home, Scott sent me a picture of Gravy who had already settled in for some serious recovery sleep. She had been in the tree for at least 24 hours, and that was much too long for her. She did not like that one bit, and was very happy to be back down on the ground and in the comforts of home again.