A beautiful, gray tabby cat just showed up one day at the rural home of Linda and Richard outside Kaplan, Louisiana. They had few neighbors and knew that it did not belong to any of them. He was a very friendly and affectionate boy, and they would have been more happy to welcome this mysterious newcomer if he had just been able to get along better with the two cats they already had. Still, they cared for him and gave him a place to call his own at least temporarily until they decided what to do with him. In the meantime, they called him Tee.

Tee had been with them only a few weeks when some dogs chased him up a tall, vine-covered pine tree in their yard. He settled on the lowest branch but was still 40 feet high, and he did not know how to get down. Richard and Linda tried to help him down, but nothing worked. Their neighbor, Serena, also became involved and tried to help too, but she failed as well. She called everyone she thought could remotely help in some way, but they all turned her down. She called the fire department, tree services, the power company, animal shelters and even the mayor, but no one would help. Her pleas for help and assistance on Facebook went unanswered as well until Tee's tenth day in the tree when someone referred her to me. Serena called me right away. I could hear the tension and despair in her voice, and I knew I had to go right away.

I left as quickly as I could, and, normally, the drive there would have taken only an hour and a half. But this day, there was an incident on the interstate that caused it to be shut down causing a traffic jam for miles, and I was in it. It took me almost four hours to get there, and the closer I got, the harder the rain fell. Fortunately, the rain had stopped by the time I arrived, and everyone was in the yard waiting for me. I met Serena, the neighbor who called me, Richard and Linda, the cat owners, and their grandchildren, Sophie and Aiden. They pointed to the place in the tree where Tee was, and, even though I could not see him, they caught a glimpse of him every now and then. He seemed to be settled into a nest of tangled vines that created a ledge between two limbs.

The tree was a very tall pine tree with a crook in the trunk just above where Tee had settled. I saw only two limbs where I could install my rope. One limb was about eight feet above Tee, and the other was about 90 feet high. Since they had told me that Tee was very friendly and approachable, I did not expect him to climb higher, so I chose the lower limb. The rope installation went smoothly, and, fortunately, Tee did not appear to react to it.

Tee could not see me as I climbed up to him, so I called out to him every now and then to be sure I did not surprise him. I didn't want to suddenly pop my head up in front of him and startle him into climbing higher. When I was close to him, I went slowly and called to him frequently. When he came to look, he appeared neither alarmed nor comfortable. He needed more information to decide if I was to be feared or not, so he sniffed my hand, which, unfortunately, did not settle the matter for him. He remained cautious, and I could see him looking straight up the tree for an escape path. When I slowly climbed a little higher, he moved away from me to the other side of the tree trunk where I could not see him. I used that opportunity to quickly climb a little higher so that I could be above him and, hopefully, block any upward escape attempts.

When I got his attention again, he continued to be cautious, but at least he was staying in place. I worked to make friends with him, and, since the hand sniff wasn't helping, I decided to open a can of food. The food got his attention, but I had to convince him for a long time to come closer to me to try it. When he did summon the courage to come closer, he sniffed the food and cautiously tried a bite. He liked it and ate some more. Now he was becoming more comfortable, and soon I was able to touch him. He let me pet him while he continued to eat. By this time, I had prepared the cat bag on my arm and was ready to bag him. While he was eating, I petted him, massaged his scruff and then held him by the scruff while I pulled the bag over him. He did not struggle or complain until after I had him secured in the bag.

I brought him down to a very relieved group of people. Sophie and Aiden both came over to take Tee in the bag back to the house where they released him. The ten days of stress and turmoil for this group of people was finally over, and it was fun to see them all smile and relax. Of course, Tee looked pretty happy too. They were all extremely grateful which made it all the more rewarding for me. Even Tee came to me afterward and rubbed against me as if to say, "Thank you." I completely forgot about the four-hour drive over there.