Little Boy

Little Boy is a four-year-old, gray-and-white kitty who got stuck in a skinny Sweetgum tree for one night at his rural home near Holden, Louisiana. The tree was next to a utility pole which held a security light and carried the electric service wires from the street to the house. Elizabeth called the fire department, and, surprisingly, they actually went out there to see if they could help but were unable to do anything because of the electric line as well as concern that the skinny tree would not be strong enough up high to support a ladder. Instead, they gave my phone number to Elizabeth, and she called me.

I, too, had concerns about this skinny tree and was not sure if it would allow me to reach Little Boy who was about thirty feet high and near the top. There was a large tree nearby with a large limb reaching toward Little Boy's tree, so I chose to install my rope there and then pull myself over to Little Boy's tree.

Little Boy was perfectly quiet and still during the entire time I worked my way over to him. Once I was close, he appeared perfectly calm and quiet, but I had trouble reading him. He sniffed my hand but had no reaction, and he seemed neither afraid nor friendly. I wanted more signs of trust from him, so I opened a can of food for him. Elizabeth had told me that he knows that sound and comes running to her when he hears it, but I saw no reaction in him at all. When I held the food up to him, he showed no interest. Now I was beginning to worry that he was actually afraid of me but was tolerating me only because he had no place to escape.

I put the food in the back of the carrier and held it up to him hoping he would find that a safe place to go. He thought about it for a long time and placed his front legs inside, but he would not commit to going all the way inside. I pulled the carrier away, spent some time trying to reassure him, and then held it up to him again. Now, he wasn't even thinking about going inside, so I put the carrier away and reached for the cat bag.

To my surprise, the cat bag was not on my harness. For the first time ever, I forgot to bring it. Fortunately, Elizabeth retrieved it for me and attached it to a rope I lowered to her, but, during this time, Little Boy was definitely showing signs of being afraid, and he began a very slow walk out a skinny limb hovering over the electric power line. I quickly prepared the cat bag over my arm, reached as far as I could while using the other hand to bend his limb toward me, and I grabbed him by the scruff and pulled the bag over him. As I secured him in the bag, he struggled a bit but was otherwise silent. I set him on my lap to make sure he was settled comfortably inside the bag with no claws caught on it and then took him down to the ground. Little Boy was not happy being stuck in that tree, but I think Elizabeth suffered more than he did, and she was very relieved to have her baby boy home and safe again.