This routine rescue of an unknown kitty stuck in a tree for at least two nights took a surprising turn at the end. It began when Steve went out to his mailbox next to the highway and heard a faint meow. He followed the sound while walking back up his long driveway and eventually found the source. One hundred yards from the highway, he found a cat stuck in an Oak tree. Steve has cats of his own, but this was not his cat. He tried to coax it down, but the cat just cried pitifully to him.
When Steve called me, it was late in the afternoon, but I still would have had time to rescue the cat, except no one was home at that time to show me where the cat is and to care for the cat once I brought it down. I always like to have someone there to monitor the rescue anyway in case something goes wrong. The next day, I had a family funeral to attend, and I didn't think I would be back home in time for a rescue. However, I managed to get home earlier than expected, so I contacted Steve and headed out. Thankfully, Steve had already volunteered to take responsibility for the cat and try to find the owner. In fact, he had already placed a flyer in all the mailboxes near him to see if the cat belonged to any of his neighbors. This is in a rural area near Greenwell Springs, and the homes are on large tracts of land and set far back from the highway and from each other.
Steve was there to greet me when I arrived, and he led me to the tree. The kitty was in a union of large branches, and all I could see of the cat was his head poking over the side. He was about 35 feet high, and his head appeared to be small like that of a kitten or juvenile. Installing my rope in the tree alarmed him, and he cried out in distress. As I climbed up to him, I was afraid he would climb higher, but he stayed where he was. I stopped to let him see me and to give him some sweet talk, and he appeared to be calming down a bit. I climbed slowly and reassured him every step of the way until I was close enough for him to sniff my hand. Now, he was feeling better and appeared to be more relaxed. Once I was finally level with him, I could see his body for the first time, and then it was clear this was an adult, though one that had lost some weight. He was a gray and white kitty wearing a red collar with no identification on it. Once he let me pet him, he was completely at ease with me, so I spent a minute visiting with him there in the tree. I spread the cat bag over my lap and encouraged him to step on my lap. This sweet boy was completely at ease as he stepped on my lap and looked up into my face. I pulled the bag up around him, and he remained calm the whole time. Once we were back on the ground, Steve held him and reassured him while I retrieved my microchip scanner. I scanned him thoroughly for a chip while he was in the bag, but I could not find one. We transferred him to Steve's carrier and gave him a can of food to eat. I checked the Lost Pets pages for the area, but I did not see a post for a cat that looked like this one. Steve was prepared to care for him and search for the owner, and, if that failed, he would find a good home for him. It was at this point that I realized that I was directly across the street from a nice family whose cat I rescued nine months ago. I couldn't remember their names or the cat, but I planned to look them up in my records once I got home. Even though Steve had placed a flyer in their mailbox already, I wanted to send a message to them in case they knew anything about this cat. At this point, I should probably confess a few things. Even though every rescue I do is noteworthy and meaningful to me, I don't remember them all. I usually need pictures and names to help me remember the actual rescue, sometimes, even if it was just a few days ago. Also, people are often surprised to learn that I'm not sure what color the cat was that I just rescued. When I do a rescue, I am so focused on my climbing, safety, and the cat's voice and behavior, that I honestly don't notice what color the cat is. I have enough to think about up there. My focus is on getting the cat down safely, and I can take a closer look at it once we are on the ground. So, even though we may have had a very exciting and meaningful rescue, I may not remember what your cat looks like.
So, after I got home and settled, I checked my records for the rescue I had done a while back across the street. It was nine months ago for a cat named Oscar
. Fortunately, I keep a record of the phone numbers, so I sent a text message to Si, Oscar's owner, about the rescue I had just done to see if he knew anything about the cat. Well, he did. He excitedly contacted me right away and said that was probably Oscar. Oscar had been missing for 10 days, and he and his family had been sick about it and missing him terribly. They were desperate to find him and had been searching all over for him. I gave him Steve's phone number, and Si called him and went over there with the family right away and reclaimed their beloved Oscar. It was a happy and tearful reunion, and Si thanked me multiple times in behalf of his whole family.
Yes, I am embarrassed to acknowledge that I did not recognize Oscar, and I should have, especially since I remembered his cute cleft palate. I had to go back to look at his pictures from his first rescue to stimulate my memory, and then it was all so obvious to me. It turns out that they had placed a Lost Cat post on one of the local Lost Pets Facebook pages, but I didn't think about that page. But, in spite of my memory failings, this story had a very happy ending after all. Oscar had been missing from home for ten days, and Steve can verify only two nights that Oscar was in the tree. It's entirely possible that Oscar was in the tree for all of the ten days and just not noticed at first. Oscar may have been scared and quiet at the beginning, and it wasn't easy to see him. Or it's possible Oscar was stuck somewhere else the first eight days. We'll never know for sure, and Oscar isn't saying. In the end, he was 1000 feet from home across a highway, but he is safe at home now.
It's a great feeling to be able to rescue a cat stuck in a tree, and it's a great feeling to help a family reunite with their lost cat. To be able to do both in the same rescue is sublime.