Find a Rescuer
When you have a cat stuck in a tree, the best course of action is to call an experienced, tree-climbing cat rescuer, because that is the most effective way to get a cat down safely. Fortunately, there is a directory of cat rescuers all over the world, and that should be your first place to look. Browse the listings for your geographic area and start calling them. Some of the listings are outdated, so be prepared for that possibility. Call the ones who are closest to you first, but if no one close is available, do not hesitate to expand the range farther outward. If you are near the border of a state, province, or country, be sure to check the listings for the neighboring area as well. Every rescuer is different, and some are more willing to travel significant distances for a rescue. If a rescuer is unable to do a rescue for you, always be sure you ask if they know someone else who might be willing to do it. Often, there are many people who are willing to do cat rescues but do not want to be listed in the directory, and the ones who are listed will know who they are. Some rescuers will maintain a list of other regional rescuers on their website, so check there as well.
When you talk to the rescuer, one of the first things most of them will want to know is how long the cat has been stuck in the tree. Every rescuer is different, but most will not consider rescuing the cat until it has been in the tree at least one night. If the cat is injured, trapped in a tight vertical fork, or if there is some other compelling reason to rescue the cat right away, then be sure to tell him that. They also may want to know something about the cat’s usual disposition with strangers, that is, whether he runs from a stranger or greets him. If the tree is not on your property, the rescuer may need to know if you have the property owner’s permission. Every rescuer will have his own set of questions for you in order to determine if he can help you.
If you are unable to find anyone in the directory, then start calling all the local tree services. Be prepared for rejection, because most do not want to be bothered with cat rescues. However, often there is one who is sympathetic and willing to help. You just have to be persistent and call all of them until you find that one. If they are not interested in doing the rescue, always ask if they know someone who will. Some may be reluctant to do the rescue, but you can help motivate them by crying or mentioning how your children are crying for their kitty.
If all the local arborists let you down, then put a desperate plea for help on social media such as Nextdoor or a local Facebook group. Sometimes, you can get the attention of someone who will help this one time or a wife who will volunteer her capable husband to do it without first asking him.
Almost everyone will tell you to call the Fire Department, but, officially, the fire department does not rescue cats in a tree except on television or in a movie. Unofficially, however, sometimes they do. It helps if you have connections or if you call the station directly and happen to catch them on a boring day. Most of the time, they will say they can’t do it, but I keep seeing examples of rare exceptions everywhere I go. However, it would be rare for them to have someone who is trained in tree climbing or cat rescue. Typically, the most they will do is try to reach the cat by ladder. If the cat is higher than they can reach, they won’t try. Sometimes, they succeed in getting the cat down, and, sometimes, they succeed only in scaring the cat higher. Regardless, thank them for trying, because they were not obligated to try at all.
Other Rescuers in My Extended Region
Because I often need to refer callers to other rescuers, I am always on the lookout for other rescuers in my own area around Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Every time I hear that someone rescued a cat in a tree in my region, I add them to a list that I maintain for future callers, and I share that list with you below. Inclusion on this list means only that I know they have rescued a cat in a tree in their area in the past, and usually that is the only thing I know about them. I have no idea about their willingness to rescue another cat, how far they are willing to travel to do so, or how much they may charge, nor can I personally vouch for them. The one exception is Will Hodges in the Lafayette area who I do know and can highly recommend. If you are in need of a rescuer in any of the locations listed below, then it is probably worth a call to the ones listed here before you start calling all the local tree services.