After having a dream rescue, I would expect the next rescue to be a nightmare, but it wasn't quite that bad. The next rescue was for one-year-old Loki in Picayune, Mississippi, and, while it wasn't a nightmare, it certainly was troublesome. First, there was the tree in which Loki had spent two nights. The tree was in a wooded area next to his home, and it leaned significantly and curved until it was horizontal. All the weight of the tree was to one side, and I wondered if my added weight might be enough to pull the entire tree down. I felt more confident after I installed my rope and successfully tested it with twice my weight, but I still wasn't perfectly comfortable with it.
Loki was on the level part of the stem, and the level part was very long. If Loki was afraid of me, he had a long way to go to get away from me, and there would be no way I could follow or reach him. I was not comfortable hanging my weight any farther out the stem where it would have more leverage on the tree. I really needed Loki to come to me. Fortunately, I got very lucky in that Loki was happy to see me climb up to him, and he readily came to me. He was relaxed and comfortable with me and perfectly at ease with my touch.
With him close and friendly, I had three methods by which I could secure him to bring him down: lap bag, carrier, or scruff-and-bag. Loki is not a lap-sitter, so getting him to step on my lap was very unlikely. Besides, my rope could not be installed high enough to allow me to bring my lap to his level. I was in an uncomfortable, dangling position with very little freedom of movement and my head just above the stem level. While I could try to grab him by the scruff and bag him, that would be very risky in this awkward position with such a large cat. I preferred to let him walk into a carrier which would be easier and safer. I was not sure about his level of comfort with carriers, but I knew he was strongly food-motivated, so I decided to lure him into the carrier with food. With that in mind, I opened a can of food and was pleased to see him respond to that sound. He came toward me to investigate the food, and I petted him while he sniffed. That is when the trouble started, but, first, I need to explain something.
Through my experience, I have learned the hard way that there are some cats who react very strongly to the scent of another cat on my gear, so I always wash my gloves, cat bag, and carrier after each use just to make sure they do not still have a cat's scent on them before the next rescue. Most cats do not react to the scent of another cat on my rescue gear, but there are some who detest it and will associate me with that scent and treat me with hostility as if I am the intruder cat they smell. Needless to say, that makes the rescue very difficult, so I take my learned lessons seriously. The most recent rescue where I used the carrier was ten days ago, and, as always, I washed the carrier thoroughly afterward. I always keep a bowl and can of food in the carrier, but the food was not needed at the last carrier rescue, and the bowl stayed inside the carrier with the cat. When I washed the carrier afterward, I did not wash the bowl. Now, back to Loki's rescue.
Loki held his nose above the edge of the bowl of food and sniffed it thoroughly while I petted him. After a few seconds, he stepped back and began to growl. From this point onward, I was the enemy, and an easy rescue was no longer an option. Loki hated me. He growled frequently, and he swatted at my hand when it got too close to him. I could not get near him, and I was even beginning to fear an unprovoked swatting attack. I gave him time to calm down, but it had no effect, and I went back down to the ground.
I considered setting a trap for him, but it turned out that the trap would not fit in the tight space on the stem. Instead, I climbed back up the tree with the rescue-pole. Loki still detested me and settled a short distance away in a dip in the stem. It took me a long time to work the noose under his legs and around his body just behind his front legs, but, once I did so, I tightened it, lifted him off the stem, shoved him into a net, released him from the noose, and then took him down.
Loki is safe and happy at home again, but I did not interview him afterward to ask for an explanation for his sudden, Jekyll-Hyde change in personality. I can't be absolutely certain that he detected the scent of another cat on the food bowl, but it seems very clear to me that that was likely the case. Keri, Loki's owner, confirmed that Loki does indeed despise other cats. Watch the video of his transformation and judge for yourself.