Friday, June 4, 2010

Cats In Trees, What Goes Up Sometimes Doesn't Easily Come Down

The reason cats climb is so that they can look down on almost every other animal - it's also the reason they hate birds. ~K.C. Buffington

The other day while watching the local news I heard a disturbing story of a cat that was  approx. 6 mos. old that had climbed to the upper limbs of a majestic tree and remained there for approx. 5 days/nights. The owners were beside themselves because the local fire/police departments refused to help get the cat out of the tree (which I have a hard time wrapping my head around). Finally a local news station aired the story and a kind hearted arborist service came to the rescue of the poor "Scaredy Cat". Thankfully without food and water for such a long period of time the cat was rescued virtually unscathed. Turns out she ran up the tree because she was in heat. Probably a group of toms were on her tail. I heard the owners are having her "fixed" this weekend so hopefully any tree calamities at least for this hot cat will be avoided in the future.

Cats climb trees out of curiosity and well  frankly,  because they CAN. (sorry but that is true!) Their claws are constructed in such a way that they are curved for climbing UPWARDS but not for going DOWN unless they go backwards. Kittens or younger cats are usually the prime candidates for being stuck in the upper tree limbs because they tend to try to descend the tree by going down head first and quickly learn this doesn't work. They have not yet learned that they need to go down the tree BACKWARDS.

How To Get A Cat Out Of A Tree:

Obviously don't call your local fire/police department. They will not help, they will help dogs stuck in ditches and a variety of other bizarre places but when it comes to cats, "fuuuhgetaboutit". When the police  have down time they are more concerned about scarfing down donuts and slurping java at their local  coffee shop or in the case of the fire department creating recipes to be featured in the next "Fire House Chili Cookoff" on "The Rachael Ray Show".  "Cat stuck in a tree with no food or water in 80 degree+ temps? Sorry...too how much hot red pepper flakes should I put in that chili?"

You could try putting an open can of the cat's favorite food at the bottom of the tree and calling it's name in a soft reassuring voice.

Lean a wooden ladder (if it is tall enough) next to the tree. Leave it there at least 15 minutes and hopefully the cat will realize it is the path to safety.

There are other methods for attempting to rescue the cat yourself but in my opinion the safest would be to call your local animal shelter, humane society or your friendly neighborhood arborist because THEY CARE.

Have an interesting story about a cat being stuck in a tree? I would love to hear about them and share them with other cat lovers. Please reply directly through the COMMENT area of this blog and you may see your comment featured in a follow-up blog on this topic. Keep the comments nice or they may "magically" disappear.


  1. Wow. 5 days! That's a long time. Glad they got the cat safely back down to Earth!! I didn't know they had to climb down backwards so that's a piece of new info :)

  2. My mum, had a cat get stuck in a tree. He actually trusted them enough to jump into their arms from 15 feet up. He did get impaled on a branch on the way down, but the branched missed all the important stuff. Our wonderful vet stitched him up again and we was right as rain in no time. So that might not be the best way to get a kitteh out of the tree. ~^..^~

  3. Boy, amazing stories, glad that's one thing we haven't had to deal w/! -Ms. Z.

  4. I had a similar experience and it wasn't even my cat. I heard about it being trapped in a tree. The owners had gone away for the week end. I too called the Waterford Fire Department and was told that they could not come out because what if a fire erupted and they were late to the fire. We have many fire houses, and fire engines in Waterford! Anyway
    I called a tree company and paid to have them go up the tree and get it down. A friend of mine kicked in half the money. We gave the cat to the neighbor, who had a key to the house to put the cat in there safely.
    They said that they thought the owners would reimburse me when they got home ---yea, right. They never called me. But I could not have slept that night knowing that cat was up in the tree. The money was well spent.

  5. Helen, first you are one wonderful neighbor! I would love to have you as my neighbor! To get involved and help that cat was wonderful!
    Is it possible that the people who had the key never told the owners when they returned that the cat had gotten stuck in a tree? Were they responsible for the care of the cat while the owners were away and they were afraid to tell them what had happened? I hope the owners didn't know because if they did I can't imagine them not calling you to thank you and to reimburse both you and your friend. If they knew, that is just awful and wrong.
    Rest assured that the kind and humane deed that you and your friend did WILL be repaid to you at some point in your life, that's Karma! The cat was very lucky to have 2 such caring people like you and your friend that cared enough to get involved, you both possibly saved it's life!
    Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment we need more caring people like you and your friend in this world! I look forward to hearing from you again!