Grayson and Gloria

This gray kitty belonged to someone but did not yet have a name, so I will just call him Grayson. He had been stuck in a tree in his yard in Prairieville for two nights, and the tree he was in had two stems, one straight and strong, the other curved and unstable. Grayson chose the unstable one. He was too scared of me to let me get close, and all my efforts to reassure him failed, so he backed out to the end of the limb as far as he could. I decided to use the rescue pole to see if I could reach it behind him to nudge him toward me, but as soon as he saw the pole beginning to come in his direction, he backed farther away from me, lost his footing and fell to the ground. He immediately ran to the next door neighbor's house and hid under it. He appeared to be fine, but I felt badly that I could not bring him down safely.

The next rescue was for Gloria, a semi-feral black cat at Big Sky Ranch near Folsom. She was not a sociable kitty, but she allowed Catherine, and only Catherine, to touch her. She had been stuck for five days by the time they found her, and when you see where she is, you can easily understand why it took so long. She is the black spot in the center of the spotlight in the center of this picture. A close-up reveals her better. The observant viewer may also happen to notice some vines in these pictures. Vines are the arch enemies of tree climbers, and the more vines there are, the more miserable the climbing conditions. These vines plus a semi-feral cat are a nightmare scenario for a cat rescuer.

I won't bore you with all the details of this seven-hour rescue, but it involved twice climbing the small tree she was on -- yes, there really is a small tree in that picture -- and the large tree next to it once. That may not sound so bad if you overlook the vine factor, but vines eliminate all the simple and quick climbing options leaving only the dreaded, slow and strenuous options. Then there were the delays of dealing with a very friendly, persistent and playful cat on the ground that wanted to help me by playing with the bundle of string I had on the ground. This string was an essential tool for installing my rope in the tree, but, in his mind, this was a wonderful toy I brought for him. Before he found it, the string was untangled. Afterward, well, you know. He would plop down on it, grab it with his paws and roll over with it. I picked him up and moved him away and then spent several minutes untangling the mess. He returned four more times with the same result. This would have been hilarious if it had been happening to someone else, but I was not in the mood at the time. Even so, I could mentally step away from it far enough to laugh and enjoy that cat and that moment.

In the end, the only way we could get Gloria down was to cut the very long limb she was on. She had walked far out to the wispy tips of the limb and was in a very precarious spot. Even if I had been able to go out that far to get her, my movement on the limb would have shaken her off her feet. After preparations were made on the ground, I slowly cut the limb in a way that it would droop slowly and remain attached. Even though the limb was 40 feet high, by the time she fell from it, her fall was less than 20 feet. She hit the ground running and ran off to hide, but she emerged three hours later and looked fine. I, however, did not look very good.