It was the kind of Facebook post that we all have seen too often, but this one caught Kayla's eye.  Someone unknown had dropped off a litter of four kittens at a veterinarians's office.  The vet had already spayed or neutered them all as well as given them their vaccinations.  Along with the picture of the adorable kittens was a plea for someone to adopt them.  Otherwise, the post warned, the kittens may have to be euthanized.

Kayla thought about this and decided that she would go adopt all four kittens and find homes for them herself.  The next day, she drove to the vet's office and was surprised to learn that they had all already been adopted except for one solid black one.  Kayla had already found someone to adopt that kitten, so she took it and put it in the car for the 40-minute drive home.  Those forty minutes were more than enough for Kayla to fall in love, and before she reached her home in Mandeville, she already knew that she was keeping this sweet boy for herself.

That was two years ago, and today, that little kitten is a large, sweet and beautiful adult cat and a deeply loved and valued member of the family.  Kayla named him JiJi, and keeps him indoors, but allows him some outdoor time too.  JiJi developed a habit of jumping over the fence to explore the neighboring yards, and that is how he got into trouble.  JiJi jumped over the fence into a different yard just after dark.  Kayla heard a dog barking, and she went to look over the fence.  She is not sure what happened, but it appears that the dog scared JiJi and chased him up a tree.  Kayla's heart sank as she peered over the fence and saw JiJi's eyes reflecting the light of her flashlight in the darkness from a position about 35 feet high in the tree.

Kayla tried to coax JiJi down, but nothing worked, and he was far too high for her to reach him.  It was a long, sleepless night for Kayla, but the next morning, her plea for help on Facebook yielded some hope.  Someone told her about me, so she contacted me, and we made a plan to meet in a couple of hours.

I drove to Mandeville and met Kayla and Jordan, a very nice, young couple, who both expressed their gratitude to me for coming to help.  We met at their neighbor's house where JiJi was stuck, and the neighbor was sympathetic and graciously allowed me to do whatever was needed.

The tree was a very tall pine tree just inside the backyard fence, and JiJi was perched on the lowest branch about 35 feet high and crying to us below.  He was a very unhappy kitty and wanted to go home.  I set my rope up high in the tree and began to climb up to him.

As I got close to him, I slowed down and watched his reaction.  It was hard to tell if he was complaining about me or just being stuck in the tree.  I approached him slowly and he never moved away.  I reached my hand out to him to sniff, and he seemed to have no opinion one way or the other.  When I got a little closer, I reached out to touch him, and he was comfortable with it.  I petted him, and he didn't mind, but he didn't warm up to me either.  He just didn't see how this was going to help him.

Since I could touch him freely, I prepared the cat bag and petted him some more.  When we were both ready, I pulled up his scruff and held on tight while I pulled him up and off his branch.  I pulled the bag over him and secured him inside.  He didn't fight me, but he continued his complaining about his plight.

I brought him down and handed him to Jordan and Kayla.  They drove him home and released him there while I packed up.  They were all relieved and happy to be safe and together again.

After they settled back in, Kayla took this picture of JiJi and sent it to me.  Then she told me the story about how she adopted him.  I was deeply moved by her words as she continued her story by expressing how glad she is that she adopted him.  She said, "he is the most loving cat I have ever met.  Whenever he sees me cry, he will come up and wipe away my tears.  He cuddles with us, he talks with us all the time, and he's my other cat's best friend!  I'm so thankful for him in my life.  That's why I am so thankful to you for rescuing my little man!"