Showing posts from January, 2023


I made a mistake in the rescue of Diamond, the sweet, ten-month-old, gray-and-white tabby girl. Diamond was stuck in a Pine tree near her rural home, and she had been there two nights when I arrived to rescue her. From the description of her personality and the way she was talking to me below as I prepared to climb up to her, I could tell she was going to be receptive and cooperative. And I was right. She did not appear frightened by me, and she happily greeted me and readily sniffed my hand. She looked like an easy rescue, and, because I knew she was an eager lap-sitter, I was anxious to get my lap up to her level and get her to step on it. That is where I made my mistake. With no other introduction besides my quick greeting and a hand-sniff, I began to climb up higher to get into position to get her to step on my lap. What I had not done was earn her trust which I usually accomplish with some gentle touches and back-scratches to prove my friendly intentions. I do this in a position t


Either I am losing my touch or Caramel is one of the most stubborn cats I have ever met. I sweet-talked to her and laid on the charm, but this sweet-faced, one-and-a-half-year-old, orange tabby cutie did not want me anywhere near her. She was at the top of a Cypress tree in her own backyard, and, when I climbed up near her and reached up to place my rope over a limb a foot below her, she leaned down with a spitting hissy fit and swatted at my hand. She barely missed me, thankfully, but I got the message that I had "crossed the line." I spent an hour and a half in the tree with her trying to win her over, but I never succeeded. I did manage to push that line closer and closer to her and gradually desensitize her to my gentle touches, but she never liked it. Her feisty attitude made it necessary to try giving her a carrier to see if she would walk into it, but that was a big mistake. That terrified her even more, so I quickly put it away. My only choice was a "hostile take

Skippy and Baby

If it were not for the pictures that Laurie sent to me after the rescue, I would never know what Skippy looked like. The best view I had of him was from the ground when he was 30 feet high peeping over the edge of his perch in the middle of a massive union of branches in his Baton Rouge backyard. Once I got in the tree with him, I caught only very brief glimpses of him, mostly his butt, as he tried to get away from me. The picture below shows the only time I saw his head, and that lasted only half a second. I was expecting a stranger-friendly kitty who would be happy to see me, but, instead, Skippy was terrified of me and did his best to keep as much distance between us as possible. I tried to reassure him, but he wasn't having it. Fortunately, he went down instead of up where his rescue could have become a nightmare, but he managed to stay behind the large branches out of my sight. When I approached too closely, even though I was still out of sight, he could not stand it any more


How long should I allow a cat to be stuck in a tree before rescuing it? Generally, I like to give the cat one night in the tree to see if it can figure out how to come down on its own. After all, cats learn to climb down only when they are in a position where they need to do so. Some cats can figure it out; some can't. When they figure it out, they have learned an empowering new skill which will help them climb out of another tree in the future, and they won't ever get stuck in a tree again. Also, the longer the cat has been stuck in the tree, the more likely he will be receptive and cooperative to me during a rescue. Despite these compelling reasons to wait a night, there are exceptional situations where immediate rescue is appropriate: (1) the cat is injured, (2) the cat has a medical condition that warrants immediate rescue, (3) the environment is dangerous, e.g., there are threatening dogs on the ground that will kill the cat if it comes down or falls, the  tree is close to


This is the second time I have rescued Phoenix, but this busy little girl has actually been stuck in a tree six times so far in her 17 months of life. Her family and, surprisingly, the fire department, rescued her the other four times. Before you start fussing, you should know that, yes, Phoenix is an inside cat. She is just very good at escaping. So good, in fact, that, this last time, no one even knew she had escaped until Becky returned home from work and heard Phoenix crying in the woods just beyond the back yard fence. She was only 20 feet high, and her rescue was easy because she cooperated with me by making friends with me right away and walking into the carrier. Once back home, she recovered from her one-night adventure by taking a nap in the cat tree, of course.


Whenever I get a call to rescue a cat in a tree, I always ask how the cat normally reacts to strangers, and my most dreaded answer is, "he runs from everyone." That was the answer I got from Carolyn about her cat Frick, and I will confess that I was not looking forward to spending my afternoon chasing Frick all over a tree in the woods in St. Francisville, Louisiana. Still, sometimes, cats surprise me, and good luck happens, but I know that good luck won't happen if I don't set the stage for it by approaching the cat with the expectation that he will be friendly. So that is what I did with Frick. Frick and his twin litter-mate, Frack, both orange tabby boys, were born on Carolyn's bed ten months ago, and they have been with her ever since. Now, Frick is stuck near the top of a small tree just inside the woods next to his house, and he had been stuck there for one night by the time I arrived. As I climbed up to Frick, he was not showing signs of distress at the sig