Unknown Black Cat

When I get an evening call for a rescue that I plan to do the following morning, I always ask the owner to verify that the cat is still in the tree shortly before I leave to go there for the rescue. Cats often come down or fall down out of the tree, especially overnight, so this verification saves me some unnecessary trips sometimes. So when Thomasine called me that morning to tell me that the unknown cat that had been stuck in her tree was no longer there, I was not surprised. However, I also know that cats move around the tree and can get into some places where they are very difficult to see, so I asked Thomasine to search the tree carefully to be sure. She was sure, so we assumed the cat was down and went home.

That evening, I got another call from Thomasine saying the cat is back in the tree, and, again, the next morning, she told me it was no longer in the tree. Some cats can comfortably go up and down a tree, and this one may be using this tree as a safe, temporary resting spot. But, considering the cries the cat had been making, it's more likely that the cat was stuck in the tree and moving to places at times where Thomasine could not see it. I decided to go out there to check the tree thoroughly myself, because I wanted to be sure about this cat.

The tree was a large Pine tree near the fence line with the neighbor, and I got out my binoculars to help me search the tree thoroughly. I didn't see a cat in this tree either, but I did see a large bird nest at the top of the tree. Thomasine told me that the cat had been perched on one of the lower limbs, so it seemed unlikely that he would go up high to that nest and be able to come back down to the same limb as before where he was seen twice. I searched the tree some more, and, after a while, I discovered a bird nest near the end of a long, horizontal limb reaching more than 25 feet over the neighbor's yard. It was hard to see because of the foliage blocking my view, but when I intensified my focus on that nest, I saw the two pointy ears and head of a black cat poking above the nest. There he is. This kitty was still in the tree and had spent three nights in that nest.

I climbed up to his limb and tried to entice him to come to me, but he would not move. I didn't think I could go all the way out there to him, but I slowly worked my way out there while trying to balance my weight on at least two limbs to prevent either from breaking, and, when I stretched out horizontal as far as I could, I was almost able to reach the nest. I held some food out to him, and he came out of the nest toward me for a few bites. He sniffed my hand, and I petted him while he ate, but he suddenly got uncomfortable with this closeness and went back to the nest out of my reach and would not come back toward me again. I tried to work my way out a little more, but at one point I lost my footing and fell slightly. I was fine and safe, but the sudden movement, noise and shaking of the limb scared the cat even more, and he walked out to the extreme tip of the limb.

There was no hope of getting him to come to me now, so it was time to get more aggressive. I could not use the rescue pole because the foliage around him would make it too difficult to get the noose around him, and I would not be in a secure or comfortable position to do it. I went back down to the ground, retrieved the cat trap and went back up the tree. During that break, the cat came back to the nest, so, before going to the trouble of setting up the trap, I decided to try to approach him one more time.

This time, I managed to work my way far enough out the limb that I was just within reach of the cat in the nest. I worked to make friends with him, and, eventually, he let me pet him. Even though I was in a very awkward position for this, I prepared the cat bag on my arm and planned to bag him. I needed one hand to push a limb above the cat out of the way while the other petted him and then grabbed him by the scruff. I lifted him out of the nest and pulled the bag over him, and I was very pleased that he did not protest very much.

I brought him back down the ground and put him in a carrier with some food. I checked him for a microchip but did not find one. Now that the cat was on the ground, Thomasine and her husband got a closer look at him and were very sure that this was the same cat that lived in their neighborhood and was frequently seen here in their yard. With that important bit of information, I decided to let him finish eating and then let him go to find his way home.