I had just walked out the door at CARA's House after leaving Cedar there when my phone rang. The call was for a rescue in Ocean Springs, Mississippi for a cat that had been stuck in a tree for six days. The day was still young, the weather was pretty, and I had no other plans, so off I went.

The cat, named Oz, belonged to a retired colonel who, in his younger years, would have had no hesitation in going after the cat himself, but, today, his injured body would not allow that. The colonel had plenty of interesting stories to tell of his exploits, but he also had stories to tell about Oz which illustrated just how proud he is of his tough cat and how alike and colorful both of these characters are. They have been buddies for seven years, and the colonel is going to do everything he can to help his cat get down from that tree.

Oz was just over 20 feet high in a tall pine tree which was just inside a wooded area behind the house. The colonel assured me that Oz was not skittish and could make friends with a stranger as long as they approached him in a reasonable manner. Even so, I installed my rope up high in the tree so that I would be prepared if Oz did decide to climb higher to get away from me.

Shortly after I started to climb up my rope, Oz stared at me and began to give me some warning growls. He clearly did not want me to come any closer, and I did not want him to climb higher up the tree, so I heeded his warning and stopped advancing. I continued to talk calmly to him and looked away and uninterested in him while I gave him some time to adjust. After that, I slowly advanced a little higher. Again, he stared at me and growled, so, again, I stopped and gave him some more time. Normally, it would not take long to climb 20 feet high, but I was having to stop for a few minutes every foot or so in order to let Oz know that I was not a threat to him, so this was turning into my slowest ascent ever.

When I was within a few feet of Oz, he began to look up the trunk for an escape route or step out on his upward-curving limb a bit to get away. He was not panicking yet, but he was still not comfortable with me. I reached my hand out and placed it on his limb below him so he could sniff it if he wanted, but he just looked at it without alarm. I continued to watch his reaction as I inched my way higher very slowly, and I gave him more opportunities to sniff my hand. He was still cautious with me, but, at last, he leaned down to sniff my hand, and I felt like we were finally making some progress. I continued to stay relaxed and talk to him until he decided it was safe to allow me to touch him. He let me brush his cheek with my finger but still did not trust me completely. Then the switch finally flipped, and he decided I must be okay. He let me pet him all over, and then he relaxed and came closer to me. We were buddies now, so now I could get ready to take him down.

I opened a can of food for him, and he was very excited to see that and get a few bites. I put the food in the back of the carrier and held the carrier up to him so he could walk inside. He stepped inside but was not totally comfortable with it, so when I began to pull the carrier away so I could close the door, he came back out and rested on the tree again. I petted him to reassure him and then gave him another chance to go inside the carrier. Again, he stepped slowly inside to get the food, but as soon as I began to pull the carrier back, he backed out the carrier and stepped back on the tree again. I don't recall ever having a cat do this before, but I still felt confident that I could eventually get him inside the carrier. So, again, I petted and reassured him and gave him another chance. This time, he stepped inside and stayed as I pulled the carrier back and closed the door. This boy is now ready to go down.

I brought him down, and the colonel lead me inside the house to release him. I opened the carrier door, and Oz bolted out and went to another room out of sight. The colonel said that Oz hid in a high spot for a while but came down later and settled back in. When he laid down for a long nap, the colonel took this picture and sent it to me with his thanks.