Two Unknowns

It was already dark when Richard called me to report a small kitten stuck in a tree between the Walmart parking lot and a very busy four-lane highway in Denham Springs, Louisiana. Nothing was known about this kitten, but this typically happens when a kitten hides inside a car with the engine and then jumps out when the car comes to a stop. The driver usually doesn't even know the kitten is there. Once the kitten finds himself in a strange territory, he seeks safety by hiding or climbing something. I don't know if that is what happened in this case, but, regardless, here we are in the dark with a scared, unknown kitten high in a tree in a dangerous environment. Scared kittens won't hesitate to jump out of the tree if they are frightened by my presence in the tree with them, and that would be a disaster if this kitten did that with heavy traffic on three sides of the tree and no other hiding places.

Unfortunately, this kitten was afraid of me as I climbed closer to her. She was already high in the small wood of the tree where I could not go, and she began to climb even higher. She was still barely within reach of my catch-pole, so I quickly prepared it and managed to get the noose around her tiny body. I lifted her out of the tree and began to bring her back to me when I noticed that she was slipping out of the noose. I quickly grabbed my net and held it under her just as she fell from the noose. She fell safely inside the net where I secured her and kept her while I brought her down. I felt very lucky that I caught her before she fell to the ground and also that she didn't jump out of the tree.

I took her home with me overnight where she was still very afraid. I could not approach her without her hissing and spitting at me. For a tiny thing, she had a very powerful spit like a blast of dynamite that both startled and scared me. I sat with her for a while and eventually had her in my lap purring loudly. She just needed to know she was safe. The poor thing misses her mama and siblings and has no idea what is happening to her in this strange world. I made it even stranger when I took her to the Denham Springs Animal Shelter the next morning. She is five or six weeks old, weighs only 1.6 pounds, and is too small to be spayed just yet, but they will keep her either there or with a foster until she is spayed and available for adoption in two or three weeks. She is all black except for a tiny white tuft on her chest. They named her Oakley, so refer to her by that name when you go there to adopt this sweet, innocent baby. I got no pictures of her during the rescue, and this is the only decent picture I could get of her afterward.

After I left Oakley at the shelter, I drove straight from there to Carriere, Mississippi to rescue another unknown black cat that had been stuck 65 feet high in a Pine tree for ten nights. Crystal and her family had been hearing a crying cat for several days but could not ever find it until they finally saw it high in the tree. The cat was difficult to see with the foliage of many other trees blocking the view, but, with binoculars, I could see that it was wearing a collar. That had me encouraged that the cat was tame and, hopefully, also friendly, but that turned out not to be the case. I climbed up to the top of the tree where I found the cat facing me from the end of a long limb. He would not respond to anything I did. He never said a word and hardly moved at all. He had no reaction or even a flinch of recognition to any of the wet or dry food sounds I made and offered. I spent a good bit of time with him but never made any progress. If I had not seen the collar, I would have thought this cat was feral.

I could set a trap on his limb, but I have no idea how long it may take for him to go into it, and I don't want to make the long drive here again to bring him down the next day. I may just barely be able to reach him with a fully-extended catch-pole, but it will be very difficult for me to handle him at that distance, and I would expect him to fight it like a wild cat. I could set up an "elevator" for him in the hope that he will eventually jump into the box and can be lowered to the ground by the family. I went back down to the ground to discuss these options with the family, and, as I was doing so, the daughter noticed that the cat was hanging from the tree by his front paws. I turned to look but could not see the cat because of the foliage in the way. As I was moving to get a better view, the cat suddenly fell to the ground with a loud plop and then ran through a small opening in the fence. From my vantage point, I could not see how or where he landed because it was on the other side of a wood fence, but I saw him run away. He appeared to be okay, but he still may have suffered an injury. We are hoping to gain more information about this cat, but, so far, we still have not learned anything about him or seen him again. I am optimistic that he is fine since cats often fall or jump from such heights without injury, but it would be nice to get confirmation. Hopefully, he returned home and surprised his family who has been wondering where he has been for the past ten days.