When Jim stepped out the front door of his house, he was surprised to discover a cat in the Black Cherry tree next to his drive. This was not his cat; this cat was a mystery. It was a long-hair, gray tabby, and by the way it cried down to him below, it appeared to be a tame cat. Since Jim lives at the end of a remote, dead-end road near a river, he assumed this cat was dropped off as has happened before. He does not know what caused this cat to climb his tree, but he has two cat-friendly dogs who may have scared it when all they wanted was to play with it, and he has a black cat that may not have given it a proper welcome. Whatever the reason, the problem now is how to get the cat down.

Jim tried all the usual methods of trying to get a cat down out of a tree, but when all his efforts failed, he called the local fire department. They referred him to me, and Jim gave me a call. By this time, the cat had been in the tree two nights, and the morning Jim called me, a serious storm front was pushing through the area. I told him we would have to wait till it passed before it would be safe for me to climb the tree, so I promised I would watch the weather closely and go out there as soon as the weather allowed. Fortunately, the storms passed through fairly quickly, and I was able to go out there just a few hours later.

When I arrived, Jim's two dogs, Zeus and Pepper, ran out to greet me, and just behind them was Jim. Jim led me straight ahead to the tree where the mystery cat was stuck. From the way he told me the cat was talking to him, I felt confident that the cat would be cooperative and easy to rescue, but I did not consider the tree. The Black Cherry tree was relatively young and only 40 feet tall, and the cat was perched about 30 feet high in the best spot to install a rope. Of course, I could not install the rope there, and my other choices were much lower and far less than optimal. I would have to resort to a slow, strenuous and tedious method of climbing in order to reach the cat.

After some difficulties, I installed my rope on the lowest limb of the tree and prepared to climb. The whole process had frightened the cat, and his distress and fear could be heard in his voice. Still, I was hopeful that he would calm down by the time I reached him. I must have left my climbing skills at home, because my progress up the tree was very slow. That may have worked to my advantage, however, since it gave the cat more than enough time to calm down. In fact, by the time I got close to him, he sounded impatient that it was taking me so long.

Now that I was close to the cat, I could see that he was still wet from the earlier rain showers. I reached my hand out to him, and he sniffed it and seemed ready to make friends with me. He let me pet him freely, so I spent a few minutes with him to strengthen our new friendship. He had a sweet, affectionate personality, and I enjoyed our time together there.

I pulled up the carrier, opened it and held it up to him to see if he would go inside. He looked inside but did not make a single movement to enter it. He looked at me as if to say, "Okay, so what am I supposed to do with that?" To make my desire more clear, I opened a can of food, and he readily took a bite of it. Then I placed the food in the back of the carrier and held it up to him again. Again, he looked inside with the same question on his mind. I pulled the food out and gave him another bite while holding the carrier immediately behind it. I gradually moved the food inside making sure he saw it as I pushed it to the back end. I held the carrier up to him again, and this time he figured it out. He stepped inside slowly and then began eating the food. I brought him back down to me and closed the door. He was perfectly comfortable inside the carrier and continued to eat as I prepared to take him down. When he finished eating, he remained perfectly relaxed as if he already knew what to expect and that he would be down soon. He laid down and watched out the door and windows as the leaves of the tree passed by, and he never uttered a single word of complaint or concern.

Once on the ground, I handed the carrier to Jim, and he took it inside the house. He released the cat and gave it some time to explore while he set out some food and water for it. After I packed up my gear, I went inside to get a better look at the cat. He was comfortable inside and still very friendly and affectionate with us both. I scanned him for a microchip but did not find one. Without my glasses and stronger light, I was not sure, but he appeared to be a neutered male. Jim seemed happy to keep the cat for himself, but he said he would check with his neighbors and all the lost pet websites to be sure the cat was not missed by someone. He promised to keep me updated on any news about the cat, and I will post updates here when I get them. But if its home is not found, it seems pretty clear to me that Jim would be happy to keep it for himself.

Since this is the only time I have rescued a cat in a cherry tree, I decided to call the cat George in honor of another famous person in history who supposedly had an incident with a cherry tree. Who knows what great things may lie ahead for this seemingly average cat.