BJ called me early that morning after someone referred him to me in response to his Facebook post. His daughter had a cat that was stuck in a tree, and she had just found him there after he went missing two days earlier. The cat's name is Mangus, and he is strictly an indoor cat, but he has recently picked up the bad habit of darting out the door when someone opens it just a little too long. He normally returns in just a few minutes, but this time, he did not return. The family looked for him but could not find him until after his second night away. Mangus was near the top of a near-vertical limb in a bushy tree in a neighbor's backyard two houses down.

BJ was at work, but his wife, Shannon, met me there at the neighbor's house which belongs to Joey. Joey was very helpful and cooperative and welcomed us into his backyard. He had already gone to great lengths to rescue Mangus himself, but Mangus was not in a spot that is easy to reach. Mangus actually belongs to Kaitlin, BJ and Shannon's daughter, and she wanted to be there for the rescue but happened to be very ill at that moment and was unable to leave the house. Kaitlin found Mangus about six months earlier at a gas station where he was wandering around as a homeless kitten. She fell in love with him and decided to take him home where she kindly gave him a place to call his own.

The tree Mangus was in was very bushy and dense, and I would not be able to climb it in the usual manner. Joey already had a ladder in place to the lowest limb, so I used it to get started, and then I began to weave and squeeze myself through the gauntlet of limbs toward Mangus. Mangus was in a bad spot and was very limited in his movement. He couldn't go higher, and the limb was too steep for him to go down lower. To make matters worse, he had trouble grabbing the limbs with his claws, and his feet would slide downward a bit. He balanced himself between two small limbs, and it must have been miserable for him to be stuck there for so long.

As I got closer to him, he did not seem alarmed. I could not quite reach him with my hands, but I was close enough that I could hold a carrier up to him. I did not bring the carrier up into the tree with me because there was so little room for it to fit between the branches, but with Joey's help attaching it to my rope on the ground, I could now pull it up into the tree with me. Since Mangus was so uncomfortable for so long, I thought he would be happy to see a spacious carrier with a large, flat floor where he could rest. I held it up to him, and he looked inside, placed his front paws just inside the door, and inspected it carefully, but ultimately decided against going inside. He pulled back, and I decided to give him more reason to go inside. I opened a can of food, and he was excited to see that. I gave him a bite, and when I began to pull it away, he reached out with his claws to pull it back. He wanted more, but I put the food in the back of the carrier. I held the carrier up to him again, and, again, he considered it at length before deciding, once again, that he did not want to go in.

I pulled myself up a little higher so I could get closer to him. Now I was within reach and gave my hand to him to sniff. He sniffed it and let me pet him. We were proper friends now, so I gave him another bite of food and put the food back in the carrier. One more time, I held the carrier up to him and this time he felt a little more comfortable with it. He slowly stepped inside, and once his back feet were in, I gently pulled him closer to me and closed the door.

I could not bring him down with me in the usual way, so I slowly lowered him straight down to the ground with my rope. Once he was on the ground, Shannon picked up the carrier and walked him home and released him there. I weaved and squeezed my way through the limbs back down to the ground and packed up my gear.

Later that day, Shannon and BJ sent to me these pictures of Mangus happy to be home and recovering from his long, miserable time in the tree by sleeping in a soft, comfortable bed. Sleep well, Mangus. And stop darting out the door.