It gets to me every time. Every time I see a cat high in a tree looking down at me with that pitiful, wide-eyed look of desperation and crying repeatedly for help, it touches me. It touches that part of my heart which understands and feels that lonely, helpless suffering and that hopeless feeling of being trapped. There's no way out.  That is what I see at almost every rescue, and it is what I saw again when I saw Grey for the first time.

Grey is a one-and-a-half year old brown tabby boy. He was probably more gray than brown as a young kitten, but he looks more brown to me now. He was probably chased up the tree in the next door neighbor's back yard by a new dog in the neighborhood, but we don't know for sure. Regardless, he is now almost 30 feet high in a very large tree in the overgrown back part of the yard bordered by a canal. The trunk of the tree is roughly four feet in diameter, and it rises thirty feet before it splits into three forks which rise upward in different directions. It was in this union of large forks that Grey had settled. While this perch was not particularly comfortable, it was so large that Grey could rest and even sleep without fear of falling out of the tree. He was also well hidden from view, since the only time I could see him was when he poked his small head out around the fork of the huge tree. He was not poking his head out at the time I took this first picture, but the circle shows where he was.

Grey belongs to Staci and her two teen children, Jordan and Abigail. They all accompanied me to help and watch. Jordan was particularly helpful with hauling my gear to and from my truck, and they all were very helpful in answering my questions about Grey. With their information, I felt like I knew Grey and how best to approach him. While Grey is normally not one to greet strangers, he can make friends with them in time with the right approach, and with such an enormous amount of tree territory above him, I better be sure I approach him carefully so that he does not climb higher to get away from me.

Fortunately, Grey handled the entire rope installation process well and remained in place. I climbed up to him slowly while pausing at intervals give him time to adjust. I watched him poking his head around the tree to watch me, and he continued to cry for help, but I could also sense some concern in his face and voice. He wanted help desperately, but he didn't know me and didn't know if he could trust me. I paused often and spoke to him calmly to try to reassure him. Once I was close enough to reach my hand out to him, I was encouraged to see him interested in sniffing it. I let him sniff and then pulled my hand back. I came up just a little more and let him sniff my hand again. This time, I reached my finger out to touch his cheek and stroke it gently. He loved that and pushed his face into my hand. I could see his whole body relax as he realized I was a friendly guy. I came up a little higher where I could reach him better, and now he was happy to let me pet him all over. He was a sweet guy, and I was relieved that we made friends so easily.

I was on the opposite side of the big fork from Grey, and I was not comfortably within reach of him. I was close enough, however, to hold a carrier up to him to see if he would go inside. He looked at it and was not disturbed by it, but he wasn't attracted to it either. I opened a can of food, placed it inside the carrier and held it up to him again, but he still had no interest in it. I put the carrier away and prepared by cat bag. I pulled myself closer to him as best I could and petted him some more. While he was standing with his head far out, I massaged his neck, pulled up his scruff and gently lifted him while I pulled the bag over him. He took it all very well without complaint while I secured him in the bag.

I brought him down and handed him to Abigail. She and Staci took him inside the house to release him there, while Jordan helped me haul my gear back to the truck. For some unknown reason, I have had very few rescues to do this summer, so it felt good to me to be able to do one successfully again, and it feels great to know that Grey is not trapped, desperate and suffering anymore. To prove that point, Staci sent this picture of him to me afterward and reported that he is snuggling with them now more than ever.