This cat is a bit of a mystery. Two people independently noticed this unknown cat crying loudly in distress from the tip top of a tree, and both called me for help. The cat was in a tree on the grounds of a hotel next to the interstate in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and neither caller knew or recognized the cat. I could not go out there right away, and it didn't sound like an emergency, so I asked for an update later in the afternoon. When I heard back, the cat was found much lower in the tree but crying in even more distress. The caller, Marsha, was very concerned about the cat and feared it might be injured. It was only twelve feet from the ground now, but was not making any effort to move at all. A few minutes later as I was preparing to go out there, Marsha told me that the cat died.

Suddenly, this rescue had turned into a tragic body recovery. At that time, I was not there to see the site and didn't have any pictures, but I could only guess that the cat fell from its earlier position at the top of the tree to its current position lower in the tree and was injured by the fall. I was feeling sick at the thought as I drove out there, but just as I arrived, Marsha told me that she just saw it move. Great! The cat is not dead after all. I rushed out there to see and found the cat clearly alive in a branch union and looking fine. She wasn't moving much at all, however, so I wondered if she might be injured. A few minutes later, she lifted herself up and stepped on another limb. She appeared perfectly fine now and was clearly a tame cat and unafraid of us on the ground.

The cat was very low in the tree but still well out of my reach, and she was not making any effort to come down any lower even though she could easily step down to some lower limbs. I could easily reach her with my catch-pole from the ground, so I prepared to do that and just lift her out of the tree. I had so much difficulty getting the noose into proper position around her chest just behind her front legs that I gave up. It felt silly to get myself rigged up to climb the tree only five feet, but that's what I did. I climbed up to her and found her perfectly comfortable with me, but she was strangely indifferent to me as well. She didn't protest as I lifted her off her limb and put her in the bag.

Back on the ground, I scanned her through the bag for a microchip and found one. That was just what I wanted. I transferred her to a carrier with food inside and then began the process of finding her owner via the microchip. Microchips are wonderful, but they are imperfect and often very frustrating. Multiple calls, messages, and text messages to the registered owner's phone number were never returned. All that I learned from the microchip was that the cat's name is Buttercream, she is 7 - 1/2 years old, she is spayed, and her microchip was implanted by an organization in Texas seven years ago. Any changes to the owner's phone or other contact information since that time were not updated with the microchip registry. The cat might even belong to a different owner now, and there was no way to learn that unless they updated the information with the microchip registry. Sometimes people adopt a cat without even knowing that it has a microchip. The cat can't tell me her story, so I was left in the dark. Since no one else was willing to take responsibility for the cat, I took her home with me.

Buttercream clearly belongs to someone. She is sweet, healthy, relaxed with strangers, immediately comfortable with new environments, and very receptive to loving pets. She is a very low-energy cat and the calmest I have ever known. She talks to me when I walk into her room, but, otherwise, she is always quiet. She seems content to just sit and nap by herself all day. She shows almost no interest in playing, and she has very little interest in food. When I first got her settled, she drank a huge amount of water, but ate nothing. She didn't recognize the sound when I opened a can of food, and she had no interest in it when I presented it to her. Later, she ate some dry food but would not touch the canned. I tried different flavors but only one of them managed to get her interest long enough for a few licks. Since she appears to be a bit overweight, I get the impression that she has been free-feeding dry food all her life. She shows no interest in escaping the room where I am keeping her, so I suspect she has been an inside cat for a long time. She is affectionate and likes to be close, and when I lie down, she likes to curl up and settle between my body and arm.

So far, my attempts to find her owner have failed, and it puzzles me that the owner has not made a public attempt to find her. It is difficult enough to find homes for all the homeless cats in our area, so we don't need the additional burden of finding a home for a cat that probably already has one. But I don't know the whole story and circumstances, so this cat remains a bit of a mystery. However, I am determined to make sure this mystery story has a happy ending.