It was another one of those "Oh my goodness!" moments when I first saw where Camiko was perched in the tree. This one-and-a-half-year-old gray tabby girl appeared only as a dark spot about 65 feet high at the top of a skinny Sweetgum tree growing in the woods behind her home. From the looks of her precarious spot on tiny, uncomfortable limbs, I would normally expect a cat to fall out of the tree after one or two nights, but Camiko had been here for seven nights, and she was miserable. The tree looked more like a skinny pole, and I was pretty certain that it would not be safe to climb it high enough to rescue Camiko. I was somberly thinking about my extreme rescue options while hoping that Camiko would get excited enough to come down a bit to me.

Climbing the last twenty feet of the tree went very slowly because I wanted to advance in small increments to judge how well the tree could handle my weight without excessive swaying. Fortunately, the tree felt stable with each advance, and I was able to climb much higher than I had anticipated. When I reached the point where I was not comfortable going any higher, I was barely within reach of Camiko.

I wasn't close enough to lift Camiko up and off her limb, but I could hold a carrier up to her to let her walk inside. I was optimistic that would work because that is how her family got her out of a tree once before. Well, it almost worked, but Camiko was surprisingly more stubborn about going into the carrier this time. When I opened a can of food for her, she was very excited about that and was trying to grab it out of my hands, but even with food in the back of the carrier, she still would not go inside.

A light rain began to fall about this time, and it was very interesting to see how excited she was to feel the water droplets landing on her body. She became laser-focused on licking all the water she could off her coat. After being stuck in the tree for so long, she was very dehydrated. She had been in a bigger rain the day before, but she still needed all the water she could get, and she was frantically licking every drop she could find. She was so involved with the water that I could not get her attention even with the food she also desperately wanted.

To lift her off her limb, I needed to be a little higher, so I stepped up a little bit more and then used the food to get her to lean down toward me. I petted her, massaged her scruff, and then I grabbed her by the scruff and used my other hand under her chest to lift her up off her limb. I pulled the bag over her and secured this sweet baby inside. She was too weak to fuss about it, so she handled it calmly and quietly. I held her in my arms a minute to reassure her, and then we began our descent to the ground.

She is safe and happy inside now, and her family is talking about making some significant changes to prevent this from happening again. I think I see a catio in Camiko's future.

Pictures are few and poor because of the rain and my failure to turn on the camera. The short video below shows only the view down and above from my point when I was about two-thirds of the way up to Camiko.