There was something wrong with this picture, but I wasn't sure what it was. Mary found an unknown cat resting quietly in the main junction of her Live Oak tree and called me to see if I could help. The cat was an adult and only ten feet high, so I was not convinced it was even stuck. Cats that know how to climb up and down a tree often find a safe perch they like and just rest there and go down whenever they feel like it, so maybe that is what this cat was doing. He wasn't so high that he couldn't get down on his own, so I wasn't convinced the cat was stuck. I asked Mary to check the cat in the morning and let me know if he is still there.
The next morning, the cat was still in the tree, so I went over there to evaluate it for myself. His entire time in the tree had been spent curled up in the same spot, and he had always been quiet and mostly motionless. He would not look or respond to me, so I thought he might be more feral than tame. Perhaps he is just very tired and enjoying the rest in a safe place. Perhaps he is ill and does not have the energy for anything else. Perhaps he is injured and is unable to climb or jump down.
He continued to be mostly unresponsive even as I climbed up to him at a safe distance, but once I took a step in his direction, he stood up and began to slowly walk out the branch away from me. I stopped there to prevent him from going any farther, and he looked as if he didn't really want to go out any farther. He stopped and looked back at me, and, after judging the distance between us to be adequate, he turned around to face me and settle down on the branch. Chasing after a cat in a tree of this size was pointless, and there was no way I could win that battle. Instead, I went back down to the ground to retrieve a trap. I installed the trap in his original spot and went back down to the ground far out of his sight. I had hoped he would go into the trap within a few minutes, so I waited. After 30 minutes, it was pretty clear he had no intention of doing anything but nap in his new position, so I left, and Mary promised to keep an eye on him and let me know when he went into the trap.
The entire afternoon passed and night fell, and, still, no cat in the trap. A few hours after darkness, however, Mary told me he was securely in the trap, and we were both relieved. I decided to go right then to bring him down to the ground and hold him at my house overnight so I could feed him and get a good look at him. He acted neither feral nor tame. He remained mostly calm and unresponsive, and I just didn't quite know what to think about this boy. I wanted to check him for a microchip, but it would not be safe to reach my hand inside the trap to do so. I made him as comfortable and safe as I could and gave him some food to eat. He showed no interest in the food while I was there, but he did eat it while I was gone. At one point I noticed a small wound on his rear end, so that might explain why he was so quiet and unable to come down out of the tree.
In the morning, I took him to Companion Animal Alliance (CAA) where he could be assessed for proper treatment. Mary had already posted the cat on her neighborhood online forum, and no one had responded with any information about the cat. The vet found no microchip, so no ownership could be determined. He was an intact male, so they neutered and vaccinated him and gave him antibiotics for the small wound. He did not act like a tame cat that could be easily adopted, so it was determined that it would be best to return him to the same location. He appeared well-fed, so he had been doing well in his territory whether someone was feeding him or not. I hope he is doing well. I can at least feel consoled knowing he is better off now than he was when he was found in the tree.