So many unanswered questions. From where did this small tortie kitten come? Where are her siblings and mama? Why is she 20 feet high in this tree? How long has she been there?
We know the kitten was in the tree at least two nights, because Amanda and Catherine heard it cry in their backyard. They were unable to locate it because it did not cry often, and it could not possibly be seen from the ground because it was 20 feet high in the large branch union of a very large tree. It was not until the kitten poked her head over the edge that they finally saw it, and at that point they called me to see if I could help.
The first time I saw the kitten was when I climbed up above her. I am not good at estimating the age of a cat, but this kitten appeared to be somewhere between eight and twelve weeks old. She was nestled in the space between some very large branches rising above her on all sides. She was on the opposite side of the trunk from me, and if I were to reach through the small gap between the branches blocking my access to her, I would just barely be able to touch her. The space created by this branch union had two levels, and she was on the lower one about a foot below the upper one.
She was not happy to see me. It broke my heart to see her facing away from me and crying loudly out in space in hopes her mama would come save her from this mean and evil man. When I placed my hand near her, she turned her head toward me and hissed, but she did not stand up or move away from me. I did my best to set her at ease, but she could not be convinced of my good intentions. I was very patient with her and gave her plenty of time to learn about me, but she continued to see me as a threat. Every approach of my hand near her was met with a hiss or growl, and I was pretty sure she would bite me if I reached too close. I tried to give her many opportunities to sniff my hand, but she never did it. I tried to offer her some food, but she seemed to be even more fearful of that. I am stubbornly patient, and it took me a long time to give up on making friends with her. My visions of an easy, sweet kitten rescue were dashed, so I went back down to the ground to get some more gear from my truck. I climbed back up to her again this time armed with a short rescue pole and two different kinds of nets. I tried the cage net first since the opening of this net can be adjusted to the exact size needed and then closed shut once the kitten is inside. I struggled to get that net in position, but the kitten was just too tucked away inside a cave that I could not get her in the net. I abandoned the net but left it standing in front of her to block her escape path. I tried using the short rescue pole, but I could not get the noose under her body because she was lying down and refused to move. I tried using the net again from a different angle, and this time, she decided to make an escape attempt. She first tried to climb higher, but I stopped her with the net. I was unable to contain her in the net, so she came back down and climbed out on the trunk and hung there vertically. I tried to get her while she was hanging there motionless and helpless, but she managed to scoot under the net and climb out a limb that reached over the roof of the small, two-story apartment complex next door. She went out as far as she could and came to rest there. She was out of reach of all my gear now, so I went back down the ground to retrieve some more gear.
I climbed back up to her and worked my way out a limb that put me fairly close to her. Once I was secured there, I prepared my long rescue pole and net. I managed to get the noose under her body fairly easily this time, so I lifted her off the limb and put her inside the net. I released the noose and took her down. This cute, little two-or-three-pound bundle of fur caused me a ton of trouble, but I finally got her.
I released her in a cage that Amanda and Catherine had prepared for her. The kitten was scared, but we covered the cage and she calmed down. Within a few minutes, she was eating the food that she had earlier refused to let me even show her. Amanda and Catherine are going to post on the usual websites to find the owner, but if no owner is found, they have a cat-loving friend who will take responsibility for her and find a home for her.