Doja's Second Rescue

I rescued Doja once before. At that time, he was an unknown cat that several neighbors noticed stuck in a tree, and all of them did their best to help. When I went to rescue him, I found him very friendly and sweet, and he readily walked into the carrier. Thanks to the phone numbers on his collar and his microchip, I was able to find the owner and return him to his home, but it took several minutes to do so. During that time, Doja was very distressed at being confined in the carrier and spent every minute and ounce of energy trying to break out of there. It was a great relief to Doja and me when we were finally able to release him, and I thought then that if I ever have to rescue him again, he won't likely walk into a carrier.

Now, just two months later, the time has arrived for his second rescue, and I wondered if he remembered his experience with the carrier. The more unpleasant his rescue experiences are, the more difficult it will be to rescue him the next time, so I always like to make each rescue as easy and pleasant as possible.

This time, Doja was about 25 feet high in a tree on the edge of a wooded, swampy area next to a creek. As usually happens in every tree down here that is not maintained, vines of various sorts were taking over the tree. In addition, this tree had very few limbs of significant size, and the only ones suitable for installing my rope were tangled with vines that would make the rope installation a nightmare. There was only one limb that I might be able to use, but shooting my weighted bag over that limb required very accurate aim, and it was very close to where Doja was resting. I decided to try for it once, and when I did so, I missed my target, and Doja became very scared and upset. I did not want to risk doing that again, so I resorted, once again, to using a pole-climbing technique which is slow and tedious, especially on a tree this size and with vines.

By the time I climbed up near Doja, he had calmed down and was actually anxious for me to get to him quickly. After being in the tree for two nights already, he was tired and beyond ready to go down. He appeared ready to come down to me to get in my lap, and I was very pleased to see that. I didn't want to present a carrier to him for fear that he would run away from it, and I didn't want to have to bag him either, so a lap rescue was a dream-come-true for me.

Once I cut numerous vines out of the way and got as close to Doja as I could get, I reached up for him as he reached down for me, and I lifted him out of his perch. As I held him high over my head and began to bring him down to my lap, he reached for my shoulders and grabbed onto them. I let him settle there primarily because he was digging his claws into my skin, and then I coaxed him down onto my lap. He settled there on my lap, and I began to bring him down. Before we reached the ground, some of my gear got caught up in the vines and prevented me from going any farther. As I untangled the vines, Doja got impatient and wanted to jump down. I held him back and was able to descend a few more feet at which point he could not stand it any longer and jumped down to the ground. He headed home, and, in just a few minutes, he was there looking for food and a comfortable place to sleep.

Tim and James, Doja's owner, talked it over and decided it was time to keep Doja inside from now on, not only to keep him out of trees, but also for his safety. I think that is a great idea, though, I will admit, I will miss seeing him. He is such a cool cat and a sweet, friendly boy, and his rescues are always interesting. Plus, he takes great pictures.