The hot season is the slow season when it comes to cat-in-tree rescues down here in the deep South. Extreme heat, as well as extreme cold, tends to drop the number of cases dramatically, but it never quite goes down to zero. There are always a few kitties who buck the trend and find a way to get themselves in trouble, and, this time, it was Fiona, a petite, three-year-old, gray tabby girl who belongs to Jill in Baton Rouge. We don't know why Fiona climbed the large Camphor tree in her own backyard, but she was stuck there about 25 feet high for about 24 hours before I arrived to rescue her. She was panting and suffering in the heat, and I heard her complaining loudly about it when I arrived.
Fiona is a fairly sociable girl who normally would have allowed me to make friends with her quickly, but this was not a normal situation, and Fiona was too afraid of me to let me get close to her. As soon as she saw me approaching, she walked about 15 feet out toward the end of the long, horizontal limb. I tried to lure her to me, but she didn't trust me one bit. The only position in which I could get in this tree was directly under her limb, so she was within my reach only when she was directly above me. When I awkwardly maneuvered out the limb toward her, she finally began to come toward me. At first, I thought she was beginning to get friendly, but I soon discovered she was only trying to sneak past me to get back to her original position next to the stem. When I went back toward the stem, she went back out the limb. We repeated this pattern which would have been a useless game of chase except that each time she passed me, I was able to reach out to her, let her sniff my hand, and give her a gentle touch that showed that I was friendly. The more contact we had, the more comfortable she became with me until she eventually stayed much closer to me. Fiona was a cautious girl, so it took a long time and much patience before she allowed me to pet her. Once she did, however, I prepared the cat bag on my arm, petted her, massaged her scruff, and then pulled her off the limb and pulled the bag around her. She didn't like it, but I calmed her down as best as I could, and she felt much better once she was released inside her house. She went straight to the water bowl because the heat had taken a heavy toll on her. It took a toll on me too. Even my camera overheated, but it had enough sense to turn itself off to prevent any damage.