It was a pitiful sight. This poor, lonely cat was balanced high and exposed on top of a skinny pole as if he were performing a circus act. The pole was actually a tree, but the top had broken off and the branches were few and small, so it looked more like a pole than a tree. The cat was balanced there on the tip of the tree about 30 feet high and had been there through two nights of near-freezing temperatures. Making the story even more sad, this unknown cat was either lost or, more likely, dumped on this dead-end road in Gonzales to fend for himself. Fortunately for the cat, Cammy lived in the house there at the end of the road, noticed the cat's plight and sought help. Cammy called the parish animal shelter, and they referred her to me.

The sky was clear and blue, but it was cold when I arrived early that morning to see if I could help this cat. I was not fond of the idea of climbing that tree, but, fortunately, there was a taller and stronger sweet gum tree next to it that I could climb instead. I installed my rope there in a place that would allow me to be in easy reach of the cat.

Cammy had told me that the cat had cried to her and other people below, so I felt confident that he had some history of at least socializing with people. That does not mean that he will be happy to see me, but it gave me hope that there was a possibility that I could befriend him. I climbed up to him slowly and calmly while watching his reaction. He was clearly not comfortable with my approach. After all, he was trapped. He certainly could not go up, and there were no branches to go out. And if he could have gone down, he would have done that the first day. He was stuck and helpless, so I did everything I could to set him at ease.

When I was at last close enough, I reached my hand out to him for a sniff. He was curious enough to reach down to my hand to sniff it, and, while he was not alarmed by it, he was not particularly relieved by it either. Still, this greeting served to make my presence feel far less threatening to him. I gave him more time and remained relaxed with him and reached out my hand again. This time, while he was watching, I touched his back end and petted him gently. A few minutes later, after he had turned around, I reached my hand out to him a third time. He sniffed it, and then let me gently rub his cheek with my finger. After that, I petted him on the head, and with each touch, he appeared to become more relaxed.

I offered some food to him, but he showed no interest in it. With that and his apparent discomfort whenever I moved the carrier, I decided to bag him. I prepared the bag on my arm but was not satisfied with the position the cat was in. There were too many little limbs that were in the way or that he might grab once I attempted to bag him, so I waited a little while and encouraged him to move to a different spot. The poor little guy had become so much more trusting and comfortable with me, and he clearly felt deceived and betrayed when I put him in the bag. Now he was scared and crying again with new fear about his fate, and I could not console him.

I brought him down to the ground, and, while I still had him in the bag, I scanned him for a microchip even though I knew it was highly unlikely that he would have one. After all, he was not even neutered. After finding no chip, I transferred him to a carrier and packed my gear. Since I found him in Gonzales which is in Ascension parish, I took him to CARA's House, the parish animal shelter. I have been there several times in my dealings with other cats, and I know that they will take good care of him and do everything possible to find a new home for him. And if someone is missing this cat, that is the first place they will go to find him. I called ahead to let them know I was coming, and the friendly staff there met me and was excited to see the cat and evaluate him. They found him friendly and felt confident that he would be adopted. One of them wanted to name him after some kind of tree, so she named him Cedar. No, the tree I found him in was not a cedar, but that does not matter now. What matters now is that he is in good hands, his future holds promise and he is not stuck on top of that pole anymore.