When eight-year old Abigail went with her mother, Nicole, to the pet store to adopt a kitten, they went in the room with several kittens and wondered how they would choose one. Abigail sat down, and a cute brown tabby was the first to come to her and sit in her lap. He chose her, so she chose him right back. This choice turned out to be easy and quick, and they took him home and named him Simba. Over the next ten months, the bond between Simba and Abigail grew even stronger, so when Simba slipped out the door and disappeared, Abigail and Nicole were very worried. They searched for him but could not find him. It was two days later on Christmas day before they finally found him stuck high in a tree in a neighbor's backyard several houses down the street.

Simba was very high in a skinny pine tree. He was on the lowest branch, but that branch was 40 feet high. They called the fire department, and they actually came out to have a look. They were unable to do anything, however, so they referred Nicole to me. Nicole called me without any expectation that I would be willing to go out there on Christmas day, but I was happy to do so. Cats don't have holidays, and I don't either. In fact, this would be the second year in a row that I rescued a cat on Christmas day, and both of them were named Simba.

When I arrived, I was disappointed to see that the tree was fairly skinny and leaning slightly. Also, I had only one place where I could install my rope, and it would require that I shoot my weighted bag very close to Simba. Fortunately, Simba was resting out near the end of his short limb, so that gave me a little more room with which to work. I shot the weighted bag right where I needed it to go on my first attempt, and quickly installed my rope without disturbing Simba very much.

Nicole had told me that Simba was very friendly, so I was hoping for an easy rescue. I climbed up to him, and, indeed, Simba happily greeted me. He was happy to see me after his two long nights in the tree. He was very relaxed, and I petted him freely. He even showed interest in stepping onto my lap, so I climbed up just a little higher to make that a little easier. He walked out to the end of his limb at one point, but came right back to me and stepped onto my lap. I petted him some more, and when the time was right, I held him by the scruff of his neck and pulled the bag over him. He offered no resistance or complaint.

I brought him down and handed him to Nicole. She set him down on the ground, opened the bag and lifted him out. Simba looked around and relaxed when he realized where he was. I enjoyed watching Nicole and Abigail reunite with their Simba. They clearly cared very much for him, and the bond between them was evident. That is the best part of every rescue, and I savored the moment since they were both very happy and grateful. Nicole thanked me for saving their Christmas, but this was as much a Christmas present for me as it was for them.