There are risks associated with the rescue of a cat in a tree, and I cannot guarantee that the cat will not be harmed in some way. Sometimes cats jump; sometimes they fall. I might lose control of the cat and drop him during the rescue attempt. The cat may be injured or even die as a result of his fall. However, cats have an amazing ability to fall from very high places without injury. I have seen cats jump or fall from as high as 70 feet and hit the ground running, suffering no harm. There are no guarantees, however, and injury is a real possibility. You need to be aware of that possibility and be prepared to take them to a veterinarian for treatment if needed.
Damage to the tree and property is also possible. Branches may break, and already broken branches that are hanging in the tree may fall, possibly causing damage to property below. That is why I insist that everyone stand clear of the area around the tree while the rescue is ongoing. I take great effort to cause no damage to the tree, and I assume no responsibility for any damage that my climb may cause to the tree or property below.
For these reasons, I routinely require the cat owner to sign a Cat Rescue Service Agreement before the rescue. When I arrive, I will have a copy of this form with me for you to sign, or you can download it and send it to me by e-mail stating that you agree to the terms. I dislike having to do this, and I have never needed it, but without it, I would not be able to continue to volunteer my service. In return, I will also sign a liability waiver for the property owner in the unlikely event that I am injured.
There are no guarantees in the cat rescue business. Every cat is different, and every tree is different. I cannot promise that I will be successful in rescuing your cat. Cats can get themselves into some of the most precarious positions, and I cannot guarantee that I can reach them in every case. Cats weigh far less than I and can climb on limbs that are much too small to bear my weight. I have a long-handle net and rescue-pole, but I still may not be able to get close enough to reach them without risking my own life. There is usually something that can be done, and I have not had an unsuccessful rescue yet, but sooner or later I am likely to run into one of those cases. If I find that the situation is too dangerous for me, I must reserve the right to abort the rescue attempt.
Property Owner’s Permission
I must have the permission of the property owner to be on his property and to climb the tree. If your cat is on a neighbor’s property, then I can’t do anything until you obtain his permission. If I should fall out of the tree or hurt myself in some way, the neighbor will not be liable, and I will sign a liability waiver to that effect if needed.
I live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and I will rescue cats just about anywhere in this area. I do not want to set a rigid limit on the number of miles, driving time, or parishes I will serve, but I am always willing to drive an hour from Baton Rouge, and I often do much more than that. If in doubt, just call me. I may at least be able to help you find someone else who is closer.
The weather matters. I do not climb trees if I can see lightning or hear thunder, because that would put my life at risk. I can deal with light rain, but even then if I see that the weather is clearing soon, I may prefer to wait till that time if it is possible.
I will not climb close to power lines. If power lines run through the center of the tree, I most likely will not be able to help. Every case is different, though, and the only way I can evaluate the risk is to see the site and the location of the cat in the tree. Even if the tree is not safe to climb, there may be other options for getting your cat down.
If the cat has climbed a power pole, you will need to contact your utility company as they are the only ones legally allowed to climb power poles.
I do not charge anything for cat rescues, and I even refuse offers of payment. I already explained the reasons for my no-cost policy on the Rescue Service page. If you really want to give me something meaningful, then send me a picture of your cat after the rescue. I seriously love seeing pictures of those cats sleeping soundly and peacefully in a comfy bed after spending so much time in a tree. And I also love to hear reports that they are still doing well days afterward. Knowing the cat is safe and well and that the family is relieved and happy is my reward.
If you meet other cat rescuers who do charge for cat rescues, then please do respect and honor them too. Cat rescuing is rarely a full-time career. Most cat rescuers have other real jobs and take on cat rescues on the side out of the goodness of their heart. Those cat rescues take them away from their paying jobs, so they do lose money when they must take time away for a rescue. And I can vouch for the fact that tree climbing gear and cat handling gear are very expensive. I am in a fortunate position where I am retired and have the time to give away my services. This is my joy. So please do not begrudge those who do charge.
Hours of Operation
Cats don't have weekends or holidays, and I don't either. You may contact me any day of the week, including all holidays. However, I am not a 24-hour operation. I have this nasty habit of sleeping at night, and while I can certainly arrange to rescue a cat at night when needed, I generally prefer to do it during daylight hours. My phone is off when I do not want to be disturbed, so you can freely call or send messages any time of day or night without fear of disturbing me. I am an early riser, and I will respond to you as soon as I can. I know how distressed you may be, and I promise that I will not keep you waiting any longer than I must.
It is usually much faster to talk on the phone, but e-mail, text messages, and Facebook messages are always fine too. If you call and do not get an answer, please leave a message if you want me to call back. I don't return missed calls unless you leave a message. Sometimes there may be a technical malfunction in which I do not get notified of a voice or e-mail message, so please feel free to contact me by multiple methods to make sure that I do not miss you.