Little Girl

Emily was going back to her car in the parking lot of the bank when she heard a faint meow. She looked around but did not see anything. Thinking she was mistaken, she was about to continue on her way when she heard it again. Now, she knew she was hearing a kitten, and she began to search for it. Fortunately, the kitten continued to cry for her, and Emily located it in the wheel well of the truck next to her. She pulled the crying gray tabby kitten out of the truck and cradled it in her arms, and she knew right away that she was going to take it home with her. She already had a three-month-old gray tabby girl at home, so now these two were going to be sisters. Emily called the three-month-old Big Girl, so she named this new kitten Little Girl.

The two kittens got along very well with each other, and now, two years later, they are still very happy together living their indoor life with Emily. Once in a while, Emily will let them go out on the patio for some supervised outdoor time, but because neither one is particularly adventurous, they never ventured any farther than the patio. This time, however, something went wrong, and her dog spooked Little Girl and chased her out into the yard and up the pecan tree. Little Girl did not go very high. She found a perch about 15 feet high on a leaning stem of the tree and settled in there. When I say she settled in, I mean she really settled in like she intended to stay there forever. She curled up and ignored all of Emily and Charlie's attempts to coax her down. She was not very high, and it appeared that the angle of the stem would allow her to negotiate her way down easily enough on her own, but Little Girl had no thought of moving.

After two hours of trying, without luck, to get Little Girl down, Emily called me. A cold front was moving through the area and was expected to drop the recent mild temperatures close to freezing overnight, and we did not want Little Girl to suffer through that. So, an hour later, I was there meeting Emily and Charlie, and they lead me into the back yard to see Little Girl who was still curled up in her perch and oblivious to the world below.

The stem of the pecan tree where Little Girl was resting leaned out over the yard at roughly a 45 degree angle, and I think most cats would have been able to come down that rough-bark stem head-first on their own. If we gave Little Girl more time, maybe she would too, but climbing down a tree at any angle requires more for a cat than just claws and physical ability. It also requires the mental components of motivation and boldness to energize them into action, and that is where Little Girl appeared to be lacking. I love low-energy cats, but that trait is working against Little Girl's favor in this situation, and she seems to have no interest in going down at all.

Since Little Girl can be skittish, I climbed up to her very carefully and slowly. Once I was close enough, I reached my hand out to her to sniff. She sniffed it and continued to remain in place. I stroked her cheek with one finger, and she seemed to relax a bit with this friendly gesture. She seemed comfortable with my presence, so I moved in a little closer. Everything was fine between us until I began to pull up the carrier. When she saw that, she got nervous and began to look for an escape path. She turned around and took one step farther out the limb, but she didn't really want to go out there. She stopped where she was but was still in position to escape if she needed. I put the carrier back down and hurriedly prepared my cat bag while trying to keep her calm and reassure her with some friendly petting. Once I had the bag ready, I petted her some more while massaging her scruff. Before she could change her mind and get out of my reach, I pulled her off the limb and pulled the bag over her.

Back on the ground, I handed the bag to Emily, and she and Charlie took Little Girl inside to release her. It was not long before she settled in to finish the nap that I interrupted in the tree, and Emily took this picture of her and sent it to me. Later that evening, she sent this sweet picture of both Little Girl and Big Girl resting together on the cat tree, so all is well in the Little Girl household again.