When Taylor told me that her cat, Nash, would not let her touch him, I became very concerned. A few months ago, Nash came out of the woods behind her rural home in Baker, Louisiana and made an appearance for the first time. Taylor and Rick have been feeding him these few months, but, despite that, Nash was not comfortable being close to them or anyone. Now, Nash was stuck about 20 feet high in a tree, and I was concerned about how I was going to rescue such a fearful cat.

Once I arrived and saw where he was in the tree and how limited his movement was, I decided it would be best to climb on the opposite side of the tree out of his sight and to get above him before he saw me for the first time. If he saw me coming upward toward him, he would surely climb higher, and I did not want to chase him to the tips of the tree where he would likely fall or jump in his effort to get away from me. I thought my chance of getting above him undetected was good, because I have often been surprised to notice that cats just don't seem to notice me. Sometimes, even when I want them to see me, I have difficulty getting their attention. So I quietly climbed the tree on the opposite side of the trunk and did not reveal myself until I was above him where I could block any attempt he might make to climb higher. He reacted as expected and wanted to get away from me, and the only way he could do that was to go down. And down he went. That smart boy quickly learned how to climb down a tree backwards and in control. Once he was within a few feet of the ground, he jumped and landed on the mattress that had been placed there in case he fell. After I left, he returned to the back porch where he chowed down with his ear-tipped sibling. I hope Nash remembers this new skill he just learned.