There are several ways to get a cat out of a tree, most of which involve climbing the tree to bring him down.  Sometimes, however, the cat offers another option as Penelope did on this occasion.

Penelope is a sweet and pretty 1-year old calico who climbed a massive live oak tree and became stuck in a large junction of the trunk thirty feet high.  She had been in the tree for three nights before I arrived, and some of those nights had been very cold.  The tree was a huge and very old, moss-laden live oak that inspired in me a sense of awe and admiration.  It would be an honor to climb this tree.  But Penelope never gave me the chance.

To install my climbing rope in a tree, I first use a very large sling-shot to shoot a weighted bag, like a bean bag, into the spot I select in the tree.  This bag is attached to a special string and pulls the string into the tree with it.  Once the string is draped over the limb I want, I use the string to pull the climbing rope up into the tree.  This part of the process sometimes frightens the cat.  Most of the time, even if the cat is frightened, he will settle down in a few minutes after the activity has stopped.

When I shot the bag into Penelope's tree, she became very frightened.  In fact, she was so scared that she climbed down about 10 feet to the next trunk junction.  Now she was significantly lower, but she would not be able to negotiate the remainder of the descent by herself.  I gave her a few minutes to settle down, and then I began slowly pulling the throw-bag back up into the tree to get it into position to fall around the branch I wanted.  As I pulled, the bag became entangled in some small limbs and leaves and made a sudden movement and noise as it came free from that tangle.  Well that was too much for Penelope.  She ran head-first down the rest of the tree in a semi-controlled manner and trotted back home.

Penelope was down, safe and sound, and I didn't even have to climb the tree.  All I did was scare her down.  While that was not my intention, it certainly made the rescue quick and easy -- so easy, in fact, that I can't even count it as a real rescue.  But, whether I planned it that way or not, the fact is Penelope is down because I at least showed up and scared her.

Penelope went back inside her home where she started making up for all the meals she had missed.  Once she had her fill, she settled down for some serious snuggling and rest.  That is when this picture was taken, and I thank Penelope's human mom, Sandra, for sending this to me.  This is the only picture I have of Penelope, and because there was no rescue, I have no video either.  Even when she was in the tree, I could not see her unless she poked her head over the edge of the very large branches.

While I have to admit that I am a little bit disappointed that I did not get to climb that massive tree, I am very glad Penelope came down the way she did.  I would like for her to not have been stressed for the rescue, but at least it didn't last long.  I also think how lucky we both were that she reacted by going down instead of up.  If she had climbed higher, it would have been an extremely difficult rescue for me and a more stressful one for her.  So I am happy with the way it turned out.  Penelope is down and we're all safe and sound.  I'm happy.