I love those rescues where the cat is sweet and cooperative, the tree is easy to climb, and the owner and cat have a heart-warming reunion, but this is not that kind of rescue. No, this was a scared, unknown kitten that would not let me get close, and it was in a miserable, vine-covered tree surrounded by water.
Navin could hear the kitten crying in his neighbor's backyard tree in Bunkie, but he could not see it. It took me a few minutes using my binoculars to locate the kitten sitting in what may have been an old bird nest now flattened and filled with leaves and twigs. We knew nothing about the kitten, but Navin planned to take responsibility for it and find its home. As for the tree, it was covered with vines, one of which is poison ivy, and surrounded by water from frequent rain storms. There was no way to avoid getting wet on this rescue.
As I climbed up toward the kitten, I could hear that he was feeling distressed, but my efforts to reassure him failed completely. He began climbing higher well before I got close to him, and I did not get a good look at him until he and I both reached the top of the tree. We both went higher than we should have, but he was still well beyond my reach, and he still felt I was too close. I did my best to calm him, but it had no effect. I opened a can of food, but he had absolutely no response to that. He looked for a place to go, but the only option he had was to go out to the extreme tips of the limb, and that is what he did. Despite his small size, the limbs could not hold him, and he fell about 35 feet to the ground and immediately ran under a car parked nearby. The ground was very saturated and covered with an inch or two of water, so he had a very soft landing.
Navin was committed to finding and helping the kitten, but there was no way the kitten would come out from under the car until everyone was gone. As of the next day, Navin still had not seen or even heard the kitten, so we don't know what happened to him. We just hope he found his way back home. Not every rescue has a clear, happy ending, so I don't have an after-rescue picture to show him sleeping comfortably in a soft bed at a safe home. Sometimes, the best I can do is just be glad that he is not still suffering in the tree anymore.