It is painful when I fail at a rescue.  I can deal with the blow to my ego, but when it is the cat that suffers the consequences, the pain is deep, it lingers long, and I feel terrible guilt.  This time it was Coco, a sweet gray and white female kitty, who was the victim of my failure.  It all ended well; she is out of the tree and doing just fine.  But as a result of my rescue attempt, she experienced the scare of falling 30' to the ground.

Coco had spent three nights in a tall, dying tree with a dead top, and the middle wasn't looking very good either.  When I arrived, she was about 12' out on a large dead branch that was about 30' from the ground.  There was only one healthy branch that I could use to anchor my rope, and it was only 10 feet higher than Coco's branch.  While Coco is a tame, pet cat, she is skittish with strangers, so I was concerned that she would try to climb higher in the tree when she saw me approaching.  If she climbed higher, I would not be able to follow her into the dead top of the tree.  I climbed on the opposite side of the trunk from her so that she would not see me until I was close to her branch, blocking her only path higher.  As it turned out, however, she was too exhausted and sleepy to be concerned about me.

Since Coco is normally skittish around strangers, I was expecting her to be uncooperative, and I assumed I would need to snare her with the rescue-pole.  But since cats often surprise me, I wanted to first try luring her with food into a carrier.  She was so tired and sleepy that it took a few minutes just to even get her attention, much less her interest.  But once she began to smell the food, she began to energize a bit.  It took some time, but to my surprise and delight, she did walk the branch to me and eat.  She liked the food, but as soon as I brought out the carrier, she turned around and walked away.  It was clear she was not going near a carrier, so that option was out.

Since Coco would come close to me to eat, the next best option was to scruff her into the gloved bag.  I put the carrier away and lured her back to me.  Again, it took a few minutes, but she did return to eat and let me pet her.  I readied the gloved bag and petted her with that hand while feeling for a good scruff.  When I scruffed her, she started struggling and clinging to a small limb which interfered with my attempts to pull the bag over her.  As soon as I would get one leg inside, two more would pop out.  As she fought and twisted, the bag became more tangled and difficult to wrap around her.  I lost my grip on her and she popped her head out of the bag and started to make her escape.  I could not stop her as she jumped out of the tree.  There were no branches in her path down, and there was only soft grassy ground on which to land.  I watched her as she executed the perfect cat fall reflex of arching her back and spreading all of her legs out.  She landed with a thud and immediately ran toward her house and hid.  She appeared to be fine, but after she came out of hiding, she needed to be checked out to be sure.

Coco's owner contacted me a few hours later and reported that Coco is fine.  He sent along this picture of her as she was recovering.  Now that she has eaten her fill, she can get some serious sleep.