The new year began with a challenging rescue, and I hope that is not an indication of more to come. Tom had called me the evening before and told me about his four-year old cat, Daisy, that had been stuck in a tree for two nights already. She was about 40 feet high in a skinny tree with no large limbs, and the tree was on the bank of a small canal in an overgrown lot. Tom told me that Daisy is skittish with strangers, so I would not be able to count on her cooperation. I kept waiting for Tom to tell me something about this rescue that sounded positive, but it never came. I told him I would be there in the morning, and I was hoping to find that it looked better than it sounded.

I arrived the following morning and Tom led me to the site. I saw Daisy perched uncomfortably on a skinny limb in a skinny tree with few significant limbs, just like Tom had said. Poor Daisy. To be stuck in such a miserable spot for three nights: how do they do it? I looked around the undergrowth for access to the tree, but there was none. I pulled out my loppers and began to clear a path through the privet and briers toward the tree. After several minutes, I reached the tree and got my first good look from below.

The tree Daisy was in was pretty skinny but marginally still climbable. There was a significant limb well above her near the top of the tree that I could use to install my rope, but I did not like this option at all. First, the tree would bend and sway quite a bit once I put my weight on it, and also, that swaying and the commotion of installing my rope would scare an already skittish cat even more. Fortunately, there was a taller, substantial pine tree, the top of which is visible in the upper right corner of the picture above, just ten feet away, and I could climb it instead and then pull myself over to Daisy once I got above her.

I climbed up the pine tree, and, when I was level with Daisy, I looked over at her and spoke to her. She was not amused. I, however, was very stricken by how big and round her eyes were. I climbed up a good bit higher to put myself in position to connect another rope on the highest limb of her tree. I used that rope to pull myself closer to her while dropping down to her level. I approached her slowly and calmly. She was nervous, but she stayed in place. I could see her looking for an escape path, but she did not have any good options either up or down. She was pretty well trapped. Otherwise, I'm sure she would have moved away.

I worked to make friends with her, but she was never comfortable. She refused to sniff my hand or the food I offered her, but she did eventually soften her attitude enough to allow me to touch her. She did not like it, but she tolerated it. After all, she had no choice. Over time, she relaxed a bit more, but we were still a long way from being buddies. I decided it would be worth a try to see if she would walk into a carrier. She had been in a miserably uncomfortable position for almost four days now, so the sight of a roomy place where she could stretch out and rest should be very attractive to her. It also gave her some separation and protection from me. So I held the open carrier up to her, and she looked inside. After several seconds passed, she stepped inside and seemed pretty happy with that choice. So was I. I closed the door and brought her down.

I took the carrier back through the path I had cleared and out of the bushes and weeds and walked toward Tom who had been watching and waiting from the street. All the time I carried Daisy down to the ground and back to the street, she had been perfectly quiet. When she saw and heard Tom call to her, however, she started talking right back to him. She was clearly happy to see a familiar and loving face. Tom, who was also clearly happy and relieved, took her home while I packed up my gear.