This unknown brown tabby was stuck in a tree for thirteen days. He showed up in a Sweet Gum tree in Bruce's backyard 
in a very remote area near Bush, Louisiana, and Bruce worked hard to find a way to get him down. When all his efforts to help the kitty failed, he worked hard to feed it in the tree. Bruce stood at the top of a tall ladder and used a very long pole to hold some food up to the cat. Bruce could barely reach the cat, and he could hold the food in place only a few moments before tiring, but he managed to feed the cat enough to buy some more time to find a solution.

Generally, tame cats will cry and talk to people below while feral cats remain quiet, so when Bruce told me that this cat had not made a single sound in thirteen days, I figured this must surely be a feral cat. But that is not always the case. I once had a perfectly quiet kitty turn into a sweetheart once I climbed up to it, so I won't truly know about this case until I see more behavior. Once I started climbing up to him, I could see that he was an intact male with a large, broad head, but he wasn't acting distressed with my approach, and he didn't climb higher or far out a limb. In fact, I was seeing very little reaction at all. If he had been stuck in the tree only a few days, I would say he was tame, but after thirteen days, he could be feral and too exhausted and apathetic to react much. In the end, he turned out to be not only tame, but also a sweetheart. Yet throughout the rescue, I kept getting mixed signals from him, and we both never quite trusted each other.

I offered him some food, and he was clearly interested and showed no discomfort with my closeness. I put the food in the back of the carrier, but he was very cautious about going inside. After some time and patience, he cautiously stepped all the way inside, but when I began to close the door, he quickly changed his mind and jumped back out. That was the end of the carrier.

Since he was strongly food-motivated, I prepared the cat bag on my lap and tried to use the food to lure him onto my lap. He would put his front legs on my lap, but I could not get his back legs to follow. I prepared the cat bag on my arm instead and planned to use the more forceful "scruff and stuff" method. He was letting me pet him while he ate, so I massaged his scruff, gathered it in my grip and lifted him while pulling the bag around him. Unfortunately, his scruff was very slippery, and I could not hold onto him long enough to get him securely in the bag. Again, he escaped, and, this time, he walked all the way out and up to the end of a long limb out of my reach. I returned to the ground feeling like a failure, even though I had no intention of quitting.

While I was on the ground pondering how I was going to get close enough to reach him with my 12-foot rescue pole, the cat decided he didn't like where he was and went back to the trunk, climbed up a little higher and settled under the shade of the mistletoe. I climbed back up to him and tried to repair our broken relationship, but it was hopeless. All the trust was gone, so I reluctantly got into position to use the rescue pole. I slipped the noose around his chest, tightened it, lifted him off his limb, and put him inside the net. I released the noose, secured him in the net, and brought him down to the ground.

After I transferred him to a carrier, Bruce went up to him and was petting him on the face through the carrier door. The two of them seemed to have a bond. After all, Bruce was the one who fed him several days. I took the cat to Big Sky Ranch nearby where they are giving him great care, getting him neutered, and enjoying his sweet personality while they attempt to find his home. If his home can't be found, they will find a new one for him. In the meantime, since he was stuck in a Sweet Gum tree, they have given him the name Gumball.