Archive for the ‘Cat Rescue’ Category

Bitten!

I was sitting at my computer about midnight last night staring at the screen and contemplating the day’s events.  Sniffing the air, I was suddenly aware of another presence in the house.  A mouse!!  I smelled a mouse!!  “That’s strange,” I thought, “we have had mice before on rare occasions but I have never been able to smell them.”  A minute later, I found myself in the playroom crawling around on the floor, peering under shelves, and behind boxes.  I was following the scent.  Then I saw it!  No, not the mouse.  My hands.  The back of my hands were growing black with fuzzy hair that was slowly oozing from my skin.  I rubbed my hands.  “I’m shedding!”   The smell was still calling me.  “Hmm… I mused.”  “My fingernails seem longer than they were this morning.”  “What is happening to me.”  My thumb ached beneath the bandaid that it wore.  Suddenly I remembered that …..  I WAS BITTEN.

It happened this morning.  A phone call.  “My name is Kim.  You helped me once before a couple years ago.  Well my cat is stuck in a tree again and has been up there for 8 days.”  “Can you help?”

I loaded up my gear and headed out the door.  I met Kim at her home and she led me through the woods to where “Baby” was stuck in a small oak tree.  Baby is a large black cat with long fur.  She was way out on a limb that was too small to bear my weight.  We spent about 30 minutes casting a rope over the limb and using it to shake the limb violently.  We hoped that we could cause Baby to fall to the soft forest floor but instead, she hung on and eventually walked back to a fork in the trunk of the tree.

“Aha!” I thought.  If she will stay there, I can easily climb up and nab her. It was only about 25 feet.  I dawned my gear and started up the tree.  Soon I was strapped to the tree right below Baby and we were staring at each other eyeball to eyeball.  She looked up the tree and I could tell she was thinking about scooting up higher.  I had to act fast.  I had my cat bag and glove installed on my right hand, but I could not reach her with my right hand because one of the limbs of the fork was in the way.  So I decided to take a chance.  I distracted her with my right hand and made a grab for the back of her neck with my bare left hand.  This works fine with nice cats but….

My neck grab was not perfect and did not have its usual paralysing effect.  As I pulled her off the limb, she began to twist and growl and kick and scratch.  It was sudden and violent and caught me by surprise.  As my left hand began to slip off her neck, I tried to turn her toward the tree and get a grip with my right hand.  If I could accomplish that, then I could shuck her into the bag that dangled down and around my right arm.  She made another violent twist and sank her teeth deep into my right hand, right through the glove.  She refused to let go and kept pulsing her jaws tighter and tighter.  Pain!!!  I could feel her teeth scrapping the bone of my thumb.  I was determined not to panic and no way was I going to let her go.  The fight continued.  Growling, scratching, pulsing of the jaws on my thumb.  Her claws were a constant threat and she was making every effort to use them on me, but my thick sweat shirt gave me an edge and I did not get scratched, only bitten.

Finally I decided to make a grab for her neck with my left hand.  I grabbed and squeezed harder and harder until choking, she finally let go of my thumb.  Blood gushed through the holes in my glove as I pulled the bag up and thrust her thrashing inside.  Yowling and kicking continued for about a minute as I tied off the bag and headed down the tree.  Another cat in the bag, but this time I paid the price.

My thoughts suddenly raced back to the mouse.  Why are two of my teeth overhanging my lower lip?  I felt them with a hairy forefinger finger.  My ears twitched and angled forward.  Suddenly, the mouse raced out from behind a box and across the floor.  I pounced!!  “Gotcha!!  You little creep.”  With the mouse in my teeth, I crawled back into the living room where Susie was standing in her pajamas.  “What are you doing!!” she blurted, “I’m trying to sleep.”

I woke up and felt my teeth.  I stroked the backs of my hands then touched my ears.  Then I sensed a throbbing pain in my thumb and noticed the stained bandaid that graced it above the knuckle.

 

 

Saving Buddy

Quick and easy.  I wish all cat rescues were this easy.  The call came in Monday morning.  A former customer was calling on me again to get their new cat out of tree in their back yard.  Buddy, had been in the tree for 6 days and many efforts to retrieve him all failed.  When I arrived on the scene an hour later, I found Buddy perched about 25 feet up a tall fir tree.  He was just laying there on the bottom limb taking it easy.  I geared up and started up the tree.  Buddy looked down on me longingly.  As I approached, he made no attempt to run away or climb higher.  I nabbed him and stuffed him into the bag with no problem.  In another minute, I was down from the tree and handing him over to his happy owner.  I think this was the fastest rescue ever for me.

Cat Stanley

Most people have heard about Flat Stanley, but have you ever met Cat Stanley?  I have.  The phone rang this morning, “I got your number from 911, are you the guy that rescues cats from trees?  My neighbor’s cat is in a tall tree, etc etc.  Oh, you charge a fee?  I’ll give him your number.”

Later.  Steve calls.  “My cat, Stanley, is stuck in a tree.  He has been up there for two days and crows are picking at him.  Can you help?”

Again, later.  Ring!  Ring!  Woman on the phone.  “Eh, I got your number from the Humane Society.  There’s a guy down the street that has a cat stuck in a tree.”  “Is it in Cascade Park?”, I inquire.  “YES!!  It is.”  “I’ll be heading out there this afternoon.”, I explain.  “Whew!  I’m so glad.  It keeps yowling and yowling.  The whole neighborhood is concerned. ”

Sometimes its like Ghostbusters around here.  I loaded up my gear and headed out, arriving at the scene about 2:30.  Soon I was geared up and climbing up the tree.  Steve and his two kids watched with great interest.  Stanley was perched about 75 feet up, but as I approached, he looked at me with great interest, meowed anxiously and started coming down limb by limb.  After about 10 feet, he ran out of easy limbs, laid down, looked at me and meowed.  To my relief, Stanley made no attempt to climb away.   When I got within reach, he accepted a few scratches on the head and even started purring.  It is really nice to have a cool cat now and then instead of those scratchy, fussy, furballs that I usually get.

Cat Stanley in a tree.  Where is Flat Stanley when you need him?

Cat Stanley in a tree. Where is Flat Stanley when you need him?

I nabbed him, swished him into my bag and then rappelled down the tree with the bag safely hanging from my belt.  Soon, Stanley was back in the hands of his two favorite friends.

Another cat in the bag.

Dropping Venus

Sometimes a rescue just turns sour.  Two weeks ago, I got this call, “Venus is stuck in a tree and has been up there for several days, can you help?”  It was too late in the day at the time so I agreed to call back on Saturday and help out if Venus was still in the tree.

Saturday came and I packed up my gear and headed North to Kelso… a longer drive than most of my rescues.  Upon arrival, I surveyed the scene with the owner and it looked like it would be a fast and simple rescue.  Venus was only about 35 feet up  in a large Maple tree, walking back and forth on a large branch.  Easy.

I threw a rope up in the tree and began hoisting myself up.  Soon I was perched a few feet below Venus and she was acting a little shy but not unfriendly.  Finally she walked with range of my grasp and with a little distraction provided by the owner below, I grabber her by the neck and eased her into the bag with no struggle.  THAT is when CATastrophe struck.  As soon as I loosened my grip on her neck, Venus turned into a raving banshee, clawing, biting, yowling, twisting and thrashing.  I struggled to regain my grip and at the same time tried to close the top of the bag around her.  No luck.  In seconds, she thrashed her way out of the bag and fell 35 feet to the ground landing on a small pile of sticks.  Terrified, she ran off into the woods.  Amazingly the owners were still glad that she was down out of the tree and were confident that they would find her soon.  It is the first time that I have ever dropped a cat and the experience left me feeling a bit stunned.  Fortunately, none of her bites or scratches connected and I came down unscathed.

Sometimes cats go berserk check out this old news video.  Imagine trying to handle a cat like this while you are hanging 35 feet up in a tree.

Nabbing a Shadow

Another cat with no name!  I’ll call him Shadow because he was a standard black and white model that moved in the tree like…well… like a Shadow.  The phone rang today about 1 PM.  “My name is Carol and there is a cat in my tree that has been up there now for at least two days.  Can you help?  Er….. its not my cat, but it seems like a really nice kitty.  I just want it down.  I’ll take care of it.”

I don’t usually go up after strays.  You just don’t know what you are getting into with a stray.  A Shadow peers down at me.It could climb higher, fight, bite, or just run out on a limb and jump.  I explained all that to Carol, but being a bit of a softy, I agreed to try.  After loading up my equipment I headed out the door.  Soon, I was looking up a tall evergreen at Shadow who was meowing down to me.

As I started up the tree, I noticed that Shadow was nervous and shifted his attention back and forth from me to Carol.  Each time he looked away from me, I would take another step up the tree.  As I approached, Shadow climbed up another three feet to the next limb.  A doubtful look in Shadow’s eye told me that he was about to take off higher up the tree. I was so close, I could almost touch him…. and yet so far.  He looked at me and sighed.  Just then, Carol called and he looked away again.  Another step.  Reach out.  A little rub on the cheek.  Stretch just a little.  Nabbed Him!!!  With a firm grasp on the back of the neck, I pulled him right into my sack.  Another cat in the bag.  And yes,  He really is a nice kitty.

 

 

 

Saving Old Yowler

What a great rescue!!  The call came in Monday night, “There is a cat stuck in a tall tree in my yard, but its not my cat.  Can you help?”  I told Judy that I don’t usually climb up after unknown cats but she said that if I could get it down, she would keep it and try to find the owner.  She said that she did not know anything about the cat but said that it seems like a domestic cat, not wild, and that it had been in the tree at least three day.  I told her to call back in the morning and if it was still in the tree, I would give it a try.

13 Second Rescue Video

“Ring, ring!!”  Tuesday morning.  Cold, foggy and yucky outside but the weatherman was promising clear skies.  I loaded up my gear and headed over to Judy’s house up in the east hills.  Upon arriving, I could her the cat yowling loudly from the top of the tree.  I decided to call him Old Yowler since he was yellow and very loud.  Judy had to run off to work but she left me a check and left a nice cat cage for Old Yowler along with plenty of food and water.  Yowler was perched about 85 feet up a tall fir tree.  I geared up and started to climb.

There was nothing remarkable about the climb.  The sun came out and it was a nice day, great weather for an excursion in the canopy.  Yowler and I carried on a constant conversation as I climbed.  I “kitty kittyed” and he would respond with a desperate meows.Out on a limb

What made this rescue so outstanding as the reaction of Yowler when I finally came into his clear view.  He got so excited to see me.  He started pacing eagerly back and forth along a narrow limb.  He was so excited in his pacing that suddenly he fell right off the branch catching it with one paw as he fell.  85 feet up he dangled by his front paws struggling as I watched from about 15 feet below.  After a short struggle, he managed to pull himself up to continue pacing, meowing, and looking down on me with a special eagerness.  Most cats are a little shy of me when I make a climb.  In fact some are down right scared and climb higher to get away.  Some even jump right out of the tree.  Not Yowler…. he was very glad to see me.

I snapped a few pictures and then made the final ascent to a point about 6 feet below the cat.  I had my cat bag ready.  Then it happened.  Yowler was so eager to see me, he came bounding down the tree, limb by limb, right into my arms, meowing and purring all the way.  It was great!!  I snacked him into the bag, tied it off, and hooked it onto my belt.  The only down side of his eagerness was that I didn’t have time to get a nice close up picture.  Small price to pay.Kitty Kat Thanks

It was such a nice day, I decided to just hang out in the tree for another 10 minutes just enjoying the view and the sounds of the forest.  Then I rigged my rope and rappelled down the tree.  Measuring my descent, I had climbed 80 feet.

I placed Old Yowler in the cage and he started wolfing down food like there was no tomorrow.  After packing my gear, I came back over to the cage for a little kitty kat thank you rub, which he freely gave.

 

 

 

Saving Maxie

We were about to leave to go shopping this morning when the phone rang.

  • “Huh,  my name is JoAnn.  I got your number from the fire department.  Do you rescue cats out of trees?”
  • “Yes.  How long has the cat been in the tree?”
  • “About 4 days.  I think he is just going to fall out.”
  • “Usually that is not a problem, cats are really tough.  Is it your cat and your tree?”
  • “Well…. no….. the cat belongs to a couple down the street and the tree belongs to a neighbor and he won’t let us onto his property.”
  • “OK.  You notify the couple so they can take possession of the cat and pay the bill, then get permission from the neighbor so I can climb the tree.”
  • “I’ll take care of the bill and I’ll call you back in a little while about the permission.”

JoAnn called back in about 15 minutes and said the man would let me climb the tree if I signed a liability waver in case I get hurt.  No problem.  I loaded up my equipment and headed down the road.  The game is afoot.Maxie

Soon I was cruising a neighborhood across town looking for the address when I spied a group of people standing on the edge of a small lot pointing and gazing up into the trees.  Stopping, I  enquired….sure enough….right address.

After meeting the property owner and signing a waver of my own making, I assured him that I would be very careful and use all the right gear and technique.  Soon I was rigged up and heading up the tree.  The cat owner watched anxiously as a small group gathered.

It was about an 18 foot climb to the first limbs and then the limbs got so numerous that it was very difficult to make my way through.  Fortunately, many of them were dead limbs so I could just cut them off and make a trail up the tree.  Soon I was right below Maxie and he was looking down at me curiously.  I took another step up toward him and he responded by scooting up another six feet.  I decided to take it easy and spend a lot of time coaxing and calling as I crept slowly toward him.

With the help of the cat owner calling softly from below, I made my final approach and reached out for the nab.  First a little scratch on the cheek.  “Aha, that feels good.”  A little more and Maxie’s eyes softened.  One more cheek scratch and I went for the back of his neck with my left hand.  It was a clean grab.  With a quick pull, I snatched him from his perch and swished him into my bag.  A sigh of relief rose from down below.  In another minute I had the Maxie tied off and on the way down to the open arms of his owner.  Another cat in the bag.

 

 

The Itsy Bitsy Cat

The itsy bitsy cat climbed up the Douglas Fir.  Actually, Itsy Bitsy is a big grey cat not itsy bitsy at all.

“Brrrrrr_ring!”   The call came in this morning as I was finishing breakfast and milking my Hay Day cows.  “I got your number from the Humane Society.  My cat has been in a tree now for 6 days and hasn’t moved.  Can you help me?”  “Six days is long enough,” I replied.  “I can try.” (I like for a cat to be in a tree for at least 3 days before I attempt a climbing rescue.  A cat should be give time to learn to come down.)

Brrrr…. 36 degrees out and there is a smattering snow on the ground.  Its going to be a cold rescue.  I packed up my gear, put on an extra wool undershirt, and headed out the door.

Upon arriving I was greeted by Sham (the cat’s owner) who proceeded to show me the tree.  Sure enough, there was Itsy Bitsy perched about 40 feet up.  A latter was propped against the tree and a can of frozen cat food was balanced on a nearby limb, untouched.

Meow!

The itsy bitsy kitty climbed up the Douglas Fir.

I prayed, “Lord please don’t let this cat run higher up the tree.  Its cold out here.”  I donned my gear, scampered up the ladder and then climbed the rest of the way up to point six feet below where the cat was perched.  I kept my distance and talked to the cat for a while to let him know that I as a friend.  To my surprise, he did not seem alarmed.  His eyes remained cosy looking slits as he peered down at me with an occasional “Meow.”

When I thought the time was right, I eased up to a point where I could reach Itsy Bitsy.  He leaned over for a nice scratch on the cheek and I enjoyed a few minutes of grateful “catalation.”  The moment came.  He leaned out a smidge too far clearing the limbs that obstructed.  I grabbed him by the nap of the neck and pulled him toward me.  There was a low growl of displeasure and surprise, but no battle.  In another second, I snacked him right into my cat bag.  In another minute, I had the bag tied off and heading down the tree on my shot line to the waiting arms of Sham.  Another cat in the bag!  Rappelling down the tree was fun.

 

 

Does Jesus Rescue Cats?

Well, sort of.  This really happened and I was amazed.  The call came in Sunday, Sept. 28th in the afternoon.  Frazier was stuck in a tall Fir tree could I please help?  I talked to Joy, Frazier’s owner, and encouraged her to let him stay in the tree for a few days.  Give him time to learn how to come down.  She called me back Tuesday night and said that he was still in the tree and had climbed even higher.  I told her I could come on Wednesday morning.

Next day I loaded up my gear and headed out the door.  When I arrived on the scene, it took several minutes using binoculars to spot Frazier perched about 70 feet up a tall Fir tree.  It was an old growth tree about 12 feet around at the bottom and well over 100 feet tall.  The ground was bushy and steeply sloped so it would be hard getting over to the tree to start the climb.  I struggled to get my throw line up into the tree but after several tries I managed to lasso a good limb about 40 feet up.  Soon I was geared up and working my way up the rope.

FrazierAfter a tedious climb, I finally arrived at a point about 10 feet below the cat.  To my amazement, he started coming down limb by limb and I though this would be easy.  He stopped just barely  out of my reach but when I tried to stretch a little to make the grab, he took off up  the tree zooming up about 30 feet.  I couldn’t even see him.  Taking a break, I “Here kitty kittied” for about ten minutes to no avail.

After climbing up to the 90 foot level I could see him perched another 10 feet above me.  We stared at each other for another 10 minutes while I called him softly.  There were lots of limbs and using them,  he started down again, this time stopping about 3 feet above me.  Laying  down on a thick limb he just looked at me with those “keep your distance” eyes.  I knew that if I took another step up in his direction, he would scoot up the tree again so I just hung there in my harness calling and coaxing.

Another 10 minutes passed with absolutely NO progress.  I was tired and thirsty and frustrated and Frazier was not about to cooperate.  This is when Jesus came to my aid.  In frustration I looked Frazier in the eye and said, “You know cat, Jesus wants you to come down now.”Great place for a picnic

Immediately, and I do mean immediately, Frazier got up and came down.  I mean he came right to me, limb by limb.  I reached out and grasped him by the nap of the neck and he didn’t even try to back away.  I pulled him into my bag without a fight.  Soon I had the bag tied up and hanging on my belt ready to descend.

I said, “Thank you Lord!” and broke out a granola bar and a bottle of water for a snack.  On the way down, I measured the climb at 90 feet.  Soon Frazier was safe in his master’s hands.Joy with Cat

Chasing Piglet

Wednesday morning I got the call.  Lee Ann who found my number on the internet asked, “Are you the guy that rescues cats from of trees?”  Little did I realize that I would spend my afternoon chasing a Piglet around the treetops.  Piglet is a black cat.  Piglet was missing for a little over a week but was discovered perched high in a tree last Sunday.  At one point, he almost came down on his own, walking out to the end of the bottom branch.  But when Lee Ann and her husband tried to encourage him by pulling their truck under the limb, the limb snapped a little and Piglet took off climbing up 40 feet never to descend again.

Rain was threatening, but after some morning commitments, I loaded up my equipment and headed out.  Arriving at the scene about 1:30, I found the truck still parked near the tree.  A ladder extended from the ground, 16 feet up toward the first limb of the tree.  A dark shape with pointy ears peered down from a perch 40 feet up.

Four trees were to be involved.  Piglet was high in a large tree.  Two other smaller trees were each 10 feet away their trunks forming a triangle with the first tree.  On the other side of the driveway, there was a huge tree with a few branches extending out over the driveway.  I geared up and started to climb.   When I reached the top of the ladder, Piglet panicked and climbed up another 45 feet so I new right then that this would be an adventure.

Climbing was slow but not too difficult.  Soon I was staring up at Piglet.  He was only 15 feet above me and was staring down at me.  He looked dazed and confused.  It was then that the big rain squall hit with drenching rain and gale force winds.  It was violent and the trees were swaying, especially the one that I was clinging too.  I began to MEOW loudly, but no one came to rescue me.  Cold and wet, and concerned about the swaying, I almost started down, but in the distance I could see the end of the weather system…. so I decided to hang on and wait it out.  I could no longer see Piglet.  Every time I looked up, falling water blinded me.

After about 10 minutes, the rain and wind stopped.  I shivered a little and started climbing again.  Then to my surprise, I saw that Piglet had walked across a limb and was now perched in the tree to my West.  I stared forlornly and resorted to the old standby, “Here kitty, kitty, kitty.”  After five minutes of enduring that, Piglet walked across the limb back to his origin spot above me and looked down with that same dazed look.  I climbed another 6 feet or so and he took off.  This time he walked across a different limb to the tree to my East.  I thought, “This cat doesn’t need me,” but he squatted down on a small limb and stared back at me again.  We spent some time just looking at each other.  I was cold, he was confused.

I decided to try the food gimmick.   Reaching into my waterproof accessory bag I pulled out a bag of dry cat treats and began shaking it to another chorus of “Here Kitty, Kitty.”  You should have seen the reaction.  It was like a big light bulb snapped on inside of Piglet’s head.  The dazed look was gone and FOOD was written all over his face.  His ears perked up.  His muscles tensed.  But instead of coming across the limb to me, he started clawing and swinging his way down the tree, limb to limb.  Soon he was 30 feet below me perched on the next to last limb of the East tree.  I could see him clearly.  He stalled there.

I rigged my safety rope and descended on it so that I was positioned about 10 feet above him.  “Gotta get over to that other tree,” I thought.  I checked my rigging, kicked hard off the trunk off the tree and did a “Tarzan” swing over to the other tree making a grab for the nearest limb where I quickly tied off.  This was to much for Piglet.  He ran out to the end of the long limb that extended out over the driveway.  I saw the limb jog down and then up.  Piglet was gone.  NO WAY!  He couldn’t have jumped clear over to that other tree.  To reach the nearest limb he would have to fly through the air a good four feet!

I hung very still.  Calling and shaking my cat food.  I was tired, cold and wet and Piglet was no where in sight.  The end of that limb was very bushy, bushy enough for a cat to hide.  I looked and looked.  No Piglet.  There is no way he could have come back to the tree trunk without me seeing him.  I watched the limb another 5 minutes.  Finally as it swayed a little in the breeze, I could clearly see that he was not on the limb.  I had had enough.  I rappelled to the ground where Lee Ann met me with a nice cup of hot coffee.  We searched the trees and called but Piglet was no where to be seen.  I explained what had happened, and that I was pretty sure that Piglet had either jumped or fallen.

Lee Ann graciously paid my fee and gave me a nice tip too.  After shivering though the cup of coffee I packed up my gear and headed home for the shower.  All of my equipment was soaked even my spare gear that I forgot to put back into the Jeep so it would take a couple of days to get everything cleaned up and properly dried out.  I pondered the fate of Piglet.  Surely I would have seen him if he fell but he wasn’t in the my tree, that was for sure.

Happy Ending:  About 6 P.M. I got a call from Lee Ann.  She continued her search after I left and heard Piglet yowling.  It took a while but she finally spotted him perched high in the huge tree across the driveway.  He had made the leap to the other limb and scooted high into the tree.  This tree had a lot of limbs and when she rattled her dry cat food container, he worked his way down.  As we spoke, Piglet was in the house enjoying some warm food along with some loving pats and scratches.