Unknown Russian Blue

Aletha discovered this unknown Russian Blue cat 35 feet high in a Pine tree on her rural property near Perkinston, Mississippi, and she tried very hard to find a way to get the cat down. When no one would help her, she found a way to get a long string over the cat's limb and use that to pull a bucket with a can of tuna fish in it up to the cat. The bucket hung below the cat, and she was not sure if he could reach it. She continued to search for help and finally found Bob Reese, the cat rescuer of Mississippi, and he referred her to me. By this time, the cat had been stuck in the tree for ten days.

The cat cried loudly and often, but when he saw me climbing up closer to him, the tone of his cries became fearful. I stopped several times along my way up to him to reassure him and give him time to calm down, but each time I started coming closer, he became scared again. With climbing slowly and pausing often, it took me about 10 minutes just to reach the height of his limb, but in spite of my efforts, the closer I got to him, the more scared he became.

Aletha had told me that the cat never moved from his spot on the limb the entire time he was in the tree, but I was concerned that he would climb higher or go out to the end of his limb to get away from me. I was very glad to see that he continued to stay in his spot even though I was now close to him. I reached my hand out to him to let him sniff it and introduce myself, but he just continued to cry repeatedly, and he ignored my gesture. I gave him some more time to calm down and see that I was not a threat. I made sure I was not facing him, I did not look directly at him, I slowly blinked my eyes or held them almost closed to show I was very relaxed, I moved very little, and I talked softly or not at all. After he appeared to calm down some, I offered my hand to him again, and, this time, he sniffed it. It didn't seem to make much difference in his stress level, so I waited some more and tried it again. He sniffed my hand a second time, but, again, it did not seem to help much.

I needed to get up just a tiny bit higher, so I inched my way up and now had about half my body above his limb. That frightened him even more, and he turned around as if he were going to walk out to the end of the limb. Fortunately, he went out only a few inches and stopped there with his back to me. I opened a can of food to see if that would help him think better of me, and it was a good thing I did. The food made a difference to him, and he turned around and came toward it. I held it for him while he took a bite. I pulled the food closer, and he followed and took another bite, though he still had a lot to say between bites. He finally seemed to be calming down, so I pulled the carrier up and set it on top of the limb facing him. It took several more minutes for him to settle down and become more comfortable with me, but he eventually let me touch him and pet him. I could feel how skinny this little boy was after being stuck in a tree for 10 days, but I could also see that this was a sweet, tame boy who was just too scared to let me know it until now.
I pushed the food to the back of the carrier, and, after a few minutes, he walked all the way inside to reach it. I closed the door and brought him down.

Aletha and I took him to the local SPCA where we were finally able to let him out of the carrier and get a good look at him. We discovered that he was an intact male and had no microchip, but I also saw for the first time that he was a polydactyl cat. His big thumbs stuck out like sore thumbs, but I did not notice that in the tree. He had eaten the entire can of food I had in the carrier, but we placed him in a cage where he had more to eat, and he also had a litter box and space to stretch out. He is in good hands now, and they will keep him for five days to see if his owner claims him. If not, he will be neutered and vaccinated and then available for adoption. Aletha was already thinking of people who would like to have him, so I suspect this sweet boy will be adopted very soon if his owner is not found.