Cat stuck in a tree?

Randall Kolb

It happens all the time.  All cats are natural tree climbers, but when it is time to come down, some cats know how and some don’t.  Those that don’t know how to come down are truly stuck.

Don’t let your cat suffer any longer.  If you are in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area, give me a call or e-mail.  I will rescue your cat, and it won’t cost you a penny.

I rescue cats for free because I love cats, I hate suffering, and I don’t want the cat to suffer just because someone can’t pay.  Besides, I am retired, so I have the time, and this does not take me away from a paying job.  This is one way in which I am uniquely suited to reduce suffering, and it gives me great joy to do so.

It is very important to me that people know that I will rescue their cat even if they can't afford it.  For this reason, I refuse any offer of payment even though I am very grateful for the gesture.  If you want to give something, I encourage you instead to make a donation to Cat Haven or any other animal welfare organization of your choice.

Not in My Area?
If you are not in the Baton Rouge area, then be sure to check this Directory of cat rescuers all over the world.  Chances are good that you will find someone there.  If no one is listed for your immediate area, do not be afraid to call the ones closest to you.  You may be surprised to learn how far some of the rescuers will go.  Otherwise, they still might be able to help you find someone in your area.  Failing that, call your local tree service companies.  Many do not want to be bothered with cat rescues, but they still might be able to direct you to someone.

Rescue Philosophy
There are many ways to rescue a cat, and my goal is to do so in the least stressful manner possible.  Every cat is different, and every tree is different.  All rescue options will not be suitable in every case, but I will escalate to the next stress level only when the lower ones have failed or been deemed unsuitable.  In the end, however, even a stressful rescue is much better than none at all.

I like to enlist the cat’s cooperation as much as possible.  Not only is that easier on the cat, it makes my job easier as well.  I will use food to entice the cat to come closer to me or inside a carrier.  Most cats that have been stuck in a tree for a day or more are very food-motivated, and many will readily walk into a carrier to get it.  Some cats are so tired of being in the tree that they readily come to me begging for rescue without my enticing them with anything at all.  But not every cat is so cooperative.  Some will cooperate if I give them enough time to get used to me and see that I am not a threat.  However, some cats, especially feral ones, may not cooperate at all and instead climb higher in the tree.  Even so, I still have ways to rescue them.

I love cats, and I love trees too.  I climb trees using ropes and professional climbing methods that do no harm to the tree.  I never use spikes; I don’t even own them.

Why Do I Do This?
Randall descending cedar treeFirst, there is a need for it.  Cats continually get stuck in trees, and there are very few people who are willing and able to help.  In some areas, there is no one who will rescue the cat, and people and their cats suffer needlessly as a result.  I do it to help fill that void and reduce that suffering.  Also, remember that when I rescue a cat, I am also rescuing at least one person as well.  Sometimes, I rescue a whole family, including the children.  The people who love the cat are often suffering more than the cat is, and it feels very rewarding to me to return that cat to their arms and relieve their suffering.

Consider watching one of these slideshows of my favorite images from my rescues, and I think you will understand just how meaningful and important this is both to the people and their cats.


Rescues 301 - 400

Rescues 201 - 300

Rescues 101 - 200

Rescues 1 - 100

Rescue Stories
Below this section is the story of my most recent rescue.  For this and all the other individual rescue stories, see the Rescue Stories page.  For a general overview, consider these yearly compilations of the best moments from all my rescues.



I made a mistake in the rescue of Diamond, the sweet, ten-month-old, gray-and-white tabby girl. Diamond was stuck in a Pine tree near her rural home, and she had been there two nights when I arrived to rescue her. From the description of her personality and the way she was talking to me below as I prepared to climb up to her, I could tell she was going to be receptive and cooperative. And I was right. She did not appear frightened by me, and she happily greeted me and readily sniffed my hand. She looked like an easy rescue, and, because I knew she was an eager lap-sitter, I was anxious to get my lap up to her level and get her to step on it. That is where I made my mistake. With no other introduction besides my quick greeting and a hand-sniff, I began to climb up higher to get into position to get her to step on my lap. What I had not done was earn her trust which I usually accomplish with some gentle touches and back-scratches to prove my friendly intentions. I do this in a position that is lower than the cat so the cat feels that it is in a more advantageous position. Getting in a position above the cat without first gaining its trust can feel intimidating and frightening to the cat, and that is the mistake I made. It's possible that it was something else that frightened Diamond. Maybe I was just unaware of a movement or noise I made that scared her. Maybe she was slow to process the scent of something on my glove which she did not like, even though the glove was clean. I can't be certain, and Diamond didn't want to talk about it afterward. But, whatever it was, Diamond decided it was time to get away from this guy any way she could, and the way she chose was to jump to the nearby Pine tree. She leaped and actually reached the trunk of the tree, but she was unable to hold on. She slid down the trunk of the tree a bit and then fell free. She landed on soft ground below and quickly ran home.

Diamond is fine, and her family is relieved and happy, but, in my overly confident rush to enjoy an easy, sweet-kitty rescue, I failed to remember a lesson I have learned before, and that is to  take the time to fully earn the cat's trust before attempting the rescue even if the cat already appears to be, or is expected to be, friendly. I am showing the uncut video of the critical moment so you can see and judge for yourself. Perhaps you will notice something I missed which will provide a more accurate explanation for her desperate and daring escape.