Before moving to the country, I lived in apartments and homes where my cats were predominately indoors only. When we first moved into D’s home last May, I was hesitant to let my cats out because I was afraid that they would a) become food for something or b) get lost on the property and not be able to find their way back. Yes, I’m a tad bit paranoid but I love my little furry family members and wanted to shelter them from anything bad happening to them. But, they are cats and well, cats will be cats and they wanted to run free and feel the wind in their fur so I let them out during the day. Well, about two months after moving in my cat Lucy was killed by something at dusk and that left only Oliver, my fluffy tail orange Tabby.
Unlike Lucy, Oliver has always had a good understanding of the meaning of predators. That much was obvious whenever you watch him run across the yard. Hunched down, constantly looking around him and up into the sky whereas Lucy, God rest her soul, was completely oblivious to anything. She had no idea that there were things out there that didn’t want to be her friend.
When Lucy was killed Oliver went through a brief mourning period (he did, trust me. He seemed sad, very confused and lost) and that’s when I decided that Oliver needed to have a little more freedom. As much as I wanted to tighten in the reigns and never lose sight of him, but I knew that this just wasn’t going to cut it. Oliver has a longing for adventure and to hunt and there was no keeping him indoors.
So, he started coming and going as he pleased at all hours of the day and in no time he had made friends with D’s cousin’s cat Buddy and they explored the nights together. Every morning I could always count on my little buddy sitting on-top of the towel I placed on the BBQ, starring in the window to notify me he was ready to come in. Except, yesterday morning he wasn’t there.
My first thought was that it was unlike him and strange. He is a kitty of habit and I always knew he’d be on his spot in the morning. Unless, something was wrong and he couldn’t make it to his spot. I calmly put on my muck boots and jacket and told myself I had to go let the chickens out any way so I might as well check around the yard to see if he’d possibly forgotten which door to come to. I know, but seriously, I had to tell myself something because I was trying to remain calm and not let my mind go to those dark places where coyotes get on the property and find their way to my fluffy orange tabby.
As I walked around the yard I called his name hoping that he would just hop out from behind a tree as if he was saying “boo mom! I was just trying to scare you!” But he didn’t and I continued to call out to him. As I was walking back onto the deck, my heart aching fear and sadness, I called once more and instead of silence, I heard a soft ‘meow’ in the distance and stopped in my tracks. I called again, and the same. “MEEOOOW!” Okay, I knew he was alive and that was good. But where was he? I walked back into the yard and called out again and again following the desperate cries in the distance until I was just on the border of the vineyard in a clearing that had three 60 foot pine trees. I stood at the bottom trying to figure out where he was until his last cry had my eyes trace up towards the sky and there I saw it. My poor, defenseless house-kitty stuck 30-35 feet up in the tree. WTH! How the hell did he get up there?
After a moment of just staring at him in sheer shock that he actually knew how to climb a tree, hey, he WAS a city cat after all, I turned and ran at full speed back towards the house to get D. You would have though the base of the tree was one fire with the speed I ran but my poor kitty was stuck up there and I’ll be damned if I did. not. do. something!
(side note: I have been known to go to great lengths to save animals so what I am about to share may seem… well, a little too much effort to some but to me, it’s all part of my make up…so don’t judge. lol)
I burst through the bedroom door out of breath and D starred at me in confusion as I tried to explain to him what was wrong. Bent over and out of breath, I finally managed to get out that Oliver was stuck in a tree ’40′ feet off the ground and he can’t get down!!!
“He’s a cat Amanda. Just leave him alone, he’ll climb down.”
“No, you don’t understand. I’ve NEVER seen him climb a tree before. I think something chased him up there and now he has no idea how to get down!!”
“What do you want me to do? I really think if we just leave him alone he’ll come down”
“Noooooo! You don’t understand!! HE. IS. STUCK! HELP HIM!”
I turned and ran back outside and did what any right minded, cat loving, country girl would do. I called the fire department.
After a somewhat embarrassing conversation with the woman on the other end, she basically told me to just get a ladder, place it against the tree with some food at the bottom and eventually, when he is hungry enough, he will come down. She OBVIOUSLY didn’t know MY cat or me.
A few moments later D joined me under the tree and after a few minutes of trying to coax him out I told him to go get the tallest ladder we have and a long rope, “I am going to get my harness and climb this bitch and save my cat!”
Not so much.
That idea was shot down quicker then it took me to tell him. “Fine, go get the tallest ladder and I’ll go get him some food and we’ll just place the ladder against the tree and try to entice him down with food. I’m sure he is starving since I just know he’s been up there all night long.”
After we got the ladder in place and the food at the base of the ladder, we decided that we would go inside for a bit and he would come down on his own. After an hour and a half I went back out and saw that he had made no attempt to get his butt out of the tree. At this point D was in a meeting with some vineyard people and I was left at the base of the tree talking to my cat. A few minutes later I saw Joel, D’s cousin coming out on the quad. As he pulled up his cat Buddy jumped off his lap and ran over to the tree. “Wait, your cat rides the quad with you?” My cat gets stuck in a damn tree and his cat rides quads? Awesome.
It took a moment but once Buddy realized Oliver was up in the tree he began to panic, circling the tree, meowing frantically and both Joel and I had to chuckle. They really ARE best friends. I thought that was just something I made up to be funny. Buddy sat at the bottom of the tree looking up and cried out to Oliver. I assumed he was trying to explain to my poor city cat how country cats go about getting out of tree. Obviously, right?
After 30 more minutes and Oliver almost falling out of the tree I started to panic. And after calling the Humane Society to see if they knew of someone who would rescue cats out of trees and being laughed at by the woman on the other end, I started to get angry.
“Isn’t there something we can rent to get up to his level and get him out?”
“Well, I can call and see how much renting a cherry picker is.”
A few moments later, D’s meeting ended and he joined us back under the tree. I told him we were going to rent a cherry picker and they would lift me up to Oliver and I would grab him out of the tree. After a brief chuckle he realized I wasn’t joking. “This is what you really want me to do.” As he said it tears started welling up in my eyes and and I cried out that I didn’t want another dead cat and I certainly don’t want him dying by falling to his death! He said okay and Joel and D went back up to the barn to make arrangements.
Buddy and I stuck around the tree but after a few minutes and realizing that neither Joel nor D had left to go get the cherry picker I left Oliver in the tree and Buddy at the base crying up to him and went back up to the barn.
“What are you doing? Why haven’t you left?
“I just wanted to make sure you really want me to rent this thing.”
“Fine, don’t. Just let my cat die. But let me say this, YOU DON’T want to be around me if THAT happens!”
Just then David yelled out…
“$%@*, he’s on the ladder! He’s on the ladder!”
I took off running back out to the vineyard and low and behold, Oliver was balancing on the top of the ladder and by the time I reached it, he was scurrying down the tree to join Buddy. I ran to pick him up and make sure he wasn’t hurt in any way and he hissed at me. What the hell? He wanted nothing to do with me and he and Buddy frolicked off in the tall grass. When I eventually caught up with him and I picked him up and he growled at me. Wow, love you too little buddy. I can only hope that one day he will understand a mother’s love.
I carried him back inside and needless to say, guess who wont be going back outside at night any time soon?
Moral of the story is this. If your cat climbs a tree and gets stuck, just wait, he will climb down.
Do you have any fun cat stories? I’d love to hear them!
This post is linked up at Serenity Now!