With all the relatively easy rescues I have had lately, I was due for a tough one, and this unknown, mystery cat in Columbia, Mississippi turned out to be it. All my difficulties were due to an uncooperative cat, troublesome trees (yes, plural trees), bad luck and incompetence, yet, the five-hour marathon ended well with a safe and secure cat.
I had trouble reading this cat. He appeared friendly at times and welcomed my touch and petting, but then, without warning, would turn away from me in fear. I still do not know what I did, if anything, to frighten him, but just as I became confident that I had this cat in the bag figuratively, he turned away to get out of reach, and the rescue began anew.

He was a very pretty, long-hair, brown tabby that looked much like a Maine Coon but lacked the tufts on his ears and feet. He was about 30 feet high in a pine tree next to the driveway, but when I made friends with him and was about to bag him, he turned away, jumped to another limb, walked out to the end of it and jumped to a limb coming from another pine tree on the other side of the driveway. My heart sank as I helplessly watched him walk so far away from me and disappear into the larger tree. There was nothing to do now but to start all over in the other tree.

In the first tree, he was perched at the end of a short limb, but in this second tree, he walked far out to the end of a very long limb and appeared to be well out of my reach. I climbed up to the top of the tree to anchor my rope as high as I could to make it easier for me to go far out on his limb, but I had little hope of actually reaching him. I needed him to come to me, but he had already proven in the first tree that he was unwilling in the least to do that. I went about halfway out the limb and pleaded for him to come to me at least a little bit, but he acted just like a cat and refused.

I gradually worked my way closer and closer to him and surprised myself by eventually reaching the point where I could stretch out and reach him. Just like before, I made friends with him, and he liked the touching and petting. He would push his head into my hand for some good petting, but he refused to come one step closer to me. There was a dead limb sticking up over his head that made it difficult to grab him securely, so I wanted him to come just a little closer to me to make it easier. However, just like in the first tree, something changed in his mind, and he began to turn around to go farther away from me. There was little room for him to go, but I could not afford to let him go another inch away from me, so I grabbed him and pulled him back. He resisted by grabbing all the limbs between us with all four feet along the way, but I pulled him free and bagged him as the light from the setting sun was fading.

I brought him down and turned him over to the nice couple who lived there. They admitted they were not cat people, but they could not stand to see the cat suffer in the tree. They had already tried to find the cat's owner, but none of the neighbors claimed it, and there was no notice on the local Lost Pets page. They could not just turn it loose, so they have decided to keep it if the owner is not found. I scanned him for a microchip but did not find one, and while I am calling him a male, I did not actually verify that. He does appear to be young, probably less than three years old, and, except for being uncooperative for the rescue, he has a great disposition.