Catherine was looking over the rubble left behind by hurricane Katrina in Biloxi, Mississippi in 2005 when she saw a Siamese cat emerge with four kittens.  Catherine is a very kind woman, and this was a sight she could not ignore.  She took the mama cat and all four kittens into her home where she cared for them until all four kittens were adopted into good homes.  She adopted the mama cat for herself and named her Harley.

That was thirteen years ago, and now, Catherine found herself moving to a retirement home where she was not allowed to have more than one cat.  She had another cat which has been with her even longer than Harley.  She loved Harley and wanted to be very sure she found a special person who would love and value Harley as much as she had, and she found that person in Tiffiny.  It is difficult for a 14-year old cat to adapt to a new home and territory, but she and Tiffiny were bonding very well.  But Harley got outside, and, for reasons unknown, she climbed a tree at the edge of her yard and got stuck.

Tiffiny was beside herself and frantic to get Harley down.  She painfully suffered the same experience everyone goes through when they try to find someone to rescue a cat out of a tree.  Nobody will do it, and almost everyone responds with the same old bad advice and false expressions as if they are experts on the subject.  Everywhere you turn, it's a dead-end.  Fortunately, Tiffiny eventually found Bob Reese, my good friend and master cat rescuer in Starkville, Mississippi and sent him a message.  That would be a long, four-hour drive to Biloxi for him, so he asked me if I would be interested in helping her.  It's just a two-hour drive for me, and my cat rescue business was very slow lately, so, yes, I would be glad to do it.  Bob put us in touch with each other, so off I went to Biloxi.

When I arrived, I met Tiffiny, and she led me to the site on the side of her house.  There I found Harley resting on a very crooked branch about 20 feet high.  The large tree was standing on the fence line, and a chain-link fence ran across the base of the tree.  Tiffiny had wisely placed a cushion on top of the fence under Harley in case she fell.

I installed my rope in the tree and Harley took it all in stride with only a little bit of discomfort.  I began to climb up to her, and as I got closer, I noticed her becoming more nervous about my approach.  I stopped and tried to reassure her by reaching my hand out for her to sniff even though she was just out of reach.  I came up another few inches, and, again, she reacted as if she was going to get away from me.  Again, I stopped and this time was able to barely reach her with my hand.  She sniffed it and seemed satisfied, so I slowly tried to go up just a few more inches.  Again, she got nervous with my approach, and, again, I stopped to reassure her.  Now I was able to touch her, and she let me pet her a little.  I thought we were making good progress in our new friendship, so I tried to come up a few more inches.  Again, she tried to turn around as if to get away.

Harley was on a peculiar branch that emerged from the trunk at a crooked angle and turned up and around in a tight circle back over itself.  When I arrived, she was on the top of that circle next to the trunk, but by the time I climbed up to her, she had moved down to the point where the branch emerged from the trunk.  That was not a good place to be, as there was not much room there for her, and it sloped quickly downward.  As she tried to turn around there in that tight spot, she had trouble getting her back feet secure on that downward slope.  I was watching her back feet sliding down and eventually dangling off the branch.  I was tense watching this, and I needed to help her to make sure she did not fall.  With her position getting more and more precarious, I felt I had to intervene, so I gently picked her up and placed her in my lap.

She was not perfectly comfortable in my lap, but she did not make a strong effort to get away.  I just petted her there and gave her time to settle down.  She was stressed and shedding a lot of hair, but I continued to try to reassure her.

I was not prepared to secure her in a bag, so I needed to be sure she would not try to get away once I took my hands off her to prepare the bag.  She calmed down some, and I pulled out the gloved bag and began to put it on my hand.  Fortunately, she stayed there in my lap while I did so.  I felt for her scruff and found very little skin with which to work.  She did not fight me or protest as I picked her up and pulled the bag over her.  She was secure now, so I brought her down.

Tiffiny was so relieved to have Harley back in her arms again.  She had suffered a lot while waiting for this moment, and it was a sweet moment to watch them reconnect again.  All is well now, so I packed up and drove home, glad that I was able to help.