Normally, I use the day after the rescue to edit the video and pictures and write the rescue story, but this past week, I had five rescues in five consecutive days, so I got a little behind in my publication schedule. Here are the next two rescues:
On the day I got the call to rescue an unknown cat stuck in a tree on a wooded lot in Abita Springs, the weather forecast was not good. Rain was expected all day, so I watched the weather radar to look for an opening, and I found one. While it rained on me for the entire drive over there, it stopped when I arrived, and, to my surprise, the rain continued to hold back even though the rescue took much longer than I had expected.
The unknown cat was about 40 feet high on the lowest significant limb in a tall, slightly leaning pine tree which was in a wooded, overgrown lot, and he had been there two nights. The cat had a white chest, but, otherwise, was mostly gray, so I will call him Earl. Most of the time, the unknown cats I have rescued turned out to be tame and even sweet, but I can never be sure what to expect.
I will remember this rescue mostly because of all the trouble I had. Getting my rope installed in the tree was difficult not only because the strong winds were making the tree sway back and forth, but also because I had some very strange and mysterious gear malfunctions that I could not understand. I also got a small piece of gear hopelessly stuck in the tree, and, after several unsuccessful attempts to retrieve it, I eventually had to abandon it.
When I climbed up to Earl, he was very wary and unsure of me, even as I tried my best to reassure him. Since the tree was leaning, and my rope was installed much higher in the tree, I was suspended a short distance away from the trunk of the tree where Earl was perched. Since he seemed afraid of me, I decided to get up above him so that he would go down instead of up if he decided to get away from me. Sure enough, his discomfort became too great, and he headed down as best he could. There were no more limbs on the tree below him, but the trunk was surrounded with a very large vine that had numerous branches radiating outward all around the trunk. Earl was able to go down a few feet using the vine, but he reached a point where he did not feel safe going any farther.
I came down to him gently and slowly while hoping he would stay in place. Once I was a good bit closer, I opened a can of food for him, and I could see the recognition on his face when he heard that familiar sound. Now I knew this was a tame boy that belonged to someone. He was hungry, and he felt reassured about my intentions now. He readily came toward me and took a few bites of food. He was comfortable with my touch, so I petted him freely while I let him eat. Once he was fully relaxed, I put him in the cat bag and then brought him down to the ground.
While he was still in the bag, I checked him for a microchip but did not find one. I turned him over to Nick and Carla, the neighbors who called me about him. They had already prepared a kennel to keep him temporarily while they looked for his owner. That same evening, they found that he belonged to some neighbors down the road a bit and returned him to them, so Earl is now safe at home.
The next morning, I got a call from Jenny asking if I could get her cat out of a tree at her home in Gonzales. The cat, which she calls simply Kitty, is mostly feral and has not let her touch it since it first appeared a long time ago, but it comes everyday to be fed and sleeps inside her garage where she has prepared a bed for him.
If a cat won't let even the caregiver touch it at home, then you can be sure it will never let me get close to it in a tree. To make matters worse, the cat was in a very old and huge live oak tree, so there were plenty of places for the cat to go to get far away from me.
Kitty was not very high, so I thought it would be best to try to scare this skittish cat down by creating a commotion in the tree above him. I made a few attempts to do just that, but Kitty had very little reaction to it and stayed in place. Since that failed, I was forced to climb up to get him. I set my rope up on the opposite side of the very large branch where Kitty was perched, and that allowed me to climb up to him without being seen. While still hidden from his view, I climbed up above him so that his first sight of me would, hopefully, cause him to go downward. That worked beautifully and quickly. He got one look at me and down he went all the way to the ground. I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Jenny went away looking for him thinking he might go to the garage. While I was packing up my gear, Kitty appeared at the base of the tree and looked at me. I opened a can of food for him while making sure he was watching me, and then I set it down and walked away. He came to it and began to eat. I found Jenny and showed her, and she was very relieved to see him and know that he was safe.
Later that day, Jenny sent this picture and very happily reported that Kitty was back in his bed in the garage and doing well.