If you have outdoor kitties, I’m sure you have at some point had issues with trees. For some reason, cats just like to climb them! Then again, if I was being chased by a dog, a tree would look like a mighty fine refuge too.
At some point in time, whether we own the cat or not, we will be confronted with the traditional “cat up a tree” scenario. The question I would like to present is this – do you know how to get the kitty down? Believe it or not the process is quite simple. In 10 steps or less, you can have your feline friend down and safe just in time for dinner.
The most important and first thing to do in every “cat up a tree” situation is remain calm. This sort of thing happens every day – cats and trees are magnetically connected (well, maybe not). Panic and fright will certainly not help any attempts at the rescue, and will often agitate the kitty. An agitated and further frightened cat up a tree is not a pretty sight.
Stay calm, be cool, and think about what to do next. By keeping a level head (this goes for any situation), you will plan and perform with much better results.
Cats typically don’t run up trees and get stuck for no reason. While it may because they chased a squirrel, it could also be a retreat attempt from a chasing predator. Be sure to see that the area around the tree is safe for the cat in case it a) falls, or b) spots an enemy.
A cat will absolutely not come down from a tree if the reason it was chased up there is still lurking around. Cat’s eyes see amazingly well, so scout around the premise to make sure the nuisance is gone before any rescue attempt can be made. We need the cooperation of the kitty to have the rescue go smoothly.
The next step you should take is this: see if your kitty CAN come down. They might be stuck and not able to climb back down by themselves. Kitties wearing collars can sometimes get stuck on a fence or a branch.
If you can see that your cat is stuck – its time to skip to step 8.
Since now you see that your cat isn’t stuck or hurt, its time to start trying to get it down. The first and easiest method you should try is to have the kitty come down on their own. If a cat can get down on their own and there aren’t any predators around, it’s only a matter of time before they get bored and come down.
If its a kitten that’s stuck – rescue it! A kitten can’t handle the wind for long, so you must be careful to get it down before it can’t hold on any longer. Its a similar case for declawed cats. If they somehow get up the tree, they don’t have the tools (claws) to get themselves down. Skip to step 8.
If the kitty is being stubborn and insists on staying up in that tree, try to calmly call it down. Try using their name in a nice and smooth tone to relax the kitty and make it want to come to you.
If the cat doesn’t respond, try using the traditional “hey, kitty kitty”. It just so happens all 3 of my cats respond to “kitty”! Its important to stay calm; when was the last time you enjoyed your name being called in an angry or frustrated tone? Exactly.
When words fail, use food. Anytime our 3 cats are missing somewhere in the house, we simply shake the treat box or their food bag and they come running. Just because a cat is outside in a tree doesn’t make it not want treats!
Try all sorts of foods and noises to coax the kitty down, but don’t scare him. You don’t have to technically give the food to the feline, so if it takes a steak to get him down, bring out the steak.
Lets be honest, not all cats respond to coaxing noises or foods. Time to take a more direct approach.
Before you go and physically take the cat out of the tree, provide an escape and let the kitty take it himself. If the cat wouldn’t come down on its own before, it might have needed a confidence boost.
If the kitty is in a tree that isn’t too terribly high, you might try backing up your car to the tree, creating a glorified stool for him. Give the cat a chance to come down with the new step – he probably will. If the car isn’t tall enough, bring out a ladder and set it where the cat can jump or reach it closely. Seeing the escape should make the kitty want to take it.
If that doesn’t work…
It’s time to grab the kitty. If he won’t come willingly, its time to take him by force.
Grab the tallest ladder you have available and set it safely up to the tree close to the kitty. You will have to hold the cat coming down, which can be difficult. There are a few methods to do this:
a) If your cat doesn’t have claws, or you know for a fact it won’t be a hassle coming down, you can just go up and grab it
b) If your cat does have claws, even the cuddliest kitty can hurt. Wearing gloves, bring a blanket up the ladder. When you are close enough to grab the cat, put it / wrap it in the blanket and carry it down quickly and safely.
c) If you know your cat will fight, use a pillowcase. It may sound strange, but you have to get the cat down somehow. When you are close to the cat, get it in the pillowcase, grab the top to hold it closed, and go down the ladder Santa style.
If none of those methods work…
Your local fire department, in all its stereotypical glory, might be able to lend a hand. If you have tried all of the above steps and your cat is still either too high up or uncooperative, call the fire station and tell them your situation. With any luck, they will come to your aid. Kitties must be saved!
Last but not least…
Hug your kitty! He just went through a traumatic experience and needs to be loved and cuddled. He might still be feisty, but give him food, water, and space to chill and relax. Calm your kitty down and show him just how much you care : ).
If all else fails…
If you’re still unable to procure your cat from that tree, give these people a call: www.aaaemergencytreeservice.com
cover photo by flagstaffotos.com.au