I was concerned about doing this rescue. From the way Piper was described to me, it was clear that there was no chance that she would allow me to get close to her, and, in a tree like this, that is bad news. The tree was not large enough for me to hide on the opposite side of the trunk and climb up without her seeing me until I was above her. That is the approach I often take when I expect the cat to move away from me, and that approach prevents the cat from climbing higher. Piper's commanding view of everything below her meant that she would easily see me climbing up toward her, and that would give her plenty of time to climb higher. This tree was made up of only vertical stems and branches, and there was hardly a horizontal limb to be found. If Piper climbed higher, she would not be able to find a secure resting spot, and I would not be able to climb nearly as high as Piper on the small wood at the top of the tree. I was not feeling optimistic about this rescue.

I installed my rope in the only suitable place in the tree above Piper, and it was very close to her. I thought that the commotion I created in the tree so close to her might scare her down, but to my surprise, she handled it very well and stayed in place. By the time I was ready to start climbing, Piper seemed pretty relaxed, and I was beginning to wonder about the possibility that she might actually be receptive to me. Even in situations where I know there is no chance the cat will be receptive, I always approach the cat as if it will be, because I never know when I might be surprised. This turned out to be one of those times.

The closer I got to Piper, the better I could see how relaxed she was. She saw me coming up toward her without showing any concern. She wasn't excited, and she wasn't afraid. She was simply calm. When I was close enough to reach my hand out to her, she readily stretched down to sniff it and then decided I was no threat. I came closer, and she calmly allowed me to touch her. I gently stroked her face and petted her head and neck, and she was perfectly comfortable with it. I began to think the unthinkable and wondered if she might actually step on my lap. I got into a better position, spread the bottom of the cat bag over my lap, and gave her an invitation and opportunity to step on my lap. She didn't move out of her fork, so I pulled out some dry food in a container and shook it off to the side of my lap. Piper instantly recognized that sound and stepped down on my lap and settled into place. I pulled the bag up around her and could hear her purring as I secured her inside.

Piper was still purring when I handed her over to her family once we were down on the ground. Piper had been pretty unhappy spending two nights in that tree by her house in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and her family had been very stressed about it too. Piper was relieved, her whole family was relieved, and I was relieved that the rescue worked out so easily when it could have been so much worse.