Catfish is an inside-only kitty who had just moved to his new home near Bogalusa only two weeks earlier when he escaped and got stuck in a tree in his back yard. He had been stuck there for two cold nights before I arrived to bring him down. He was not comfortable with my presence up there in the tree, but, to get farther away from me, he would have had to go down a very steep section of the branch. Each time he approached that steep, downward path to escape me, he found it too frightening and pulled back. He was trapped on a few feet of the relatively level part of the branch between me and that downward slope.

 had to spend a long time with him to earn his trust, but he never quite warmed up to me. Instead, he did the most unusual thing, and I have seen only one other cat do this with me several years ago. He came closer to me by backing up to me. I don't know what he was thinking. Maybe he wanted to back up to where the branch was more level and simply forgot about me or thought I was far enough away. Maybe he wanted to approach me but also wanted to be ready to make a quick getaway if needed. Whatever his reasoning, he backed up like a crawfish until he was just within my reach for the first time. I took advantage of the moment and reached out to let him sniff my hand and give him a gentle pat and scratch on the back. While that seemed to ease his mind a bit, it eased only a little bit, and he was soon making another approach to the scary downward escape route only to stop once again.

Catfish backed up to me three times before I could get close enough to reach his scruff and pull him off the branch and into the cat bag. I brought him down and handed him over to Kendall who took him inside. She soon noticed that Catfish had some injuries and was having trouble jumping up to his usual high perch. She took him to the vet where she learned that he had a fever, a large puncture wound on his butt in addition to some other smaller puncture wounds, and some bruising. After getting some fluids, wound care, antibiotics and pain medication, Catfish is recovering from whatever encounter he had that led him to climb that tree. Was it a coyote, dog, or cat? We don't know, but Catfish was lucky to get away from danger by climbing the tree, and he is now safe at home and on the mend.