A few months ago, I thought I was going to be adding a 7th cat to the crew and an 11th furry family member. It apparently wasn’t meant to be, but that doesn’t stop me from wondering and worrying if the little guy/girl is ok out there wherever he/she ended up.
This particular late January morning started out as usual, kinda hectic as all the animals got in place for the start of the day. I had stepped outside to let the dogs in/out of the garage before starting my work day. As I was ushering animals (cats also included) in and out so I could get back into the warmth of the house, I heard some crows squawking in some nearby trees in the yard. That was unusual and kind of strange in itself, but then I noticed something black in the very top of the tree next to where the crows had been raising a ruckus.
As I got to the tree where the object was, I realized it was a cat. A crazy, daredevil one at that. It was at least 30 ft. up at the very, very top, draped between a ‘V’ part of the tree. It was so high up, I could barely tell exactly what color it was. Seeing that it was smaller and very dark with what looked like some white on it, I immediately thought it was Cooper or possibly Rosie, so I started calling their names up to it.
As my cats all ran out to see what I was calling them about, I quickly realized it was not one of mine. Great. It was one of the worst possible days for a cat to be up in a tree, as on top of it being very cold, we had 25 mph wind gusts, and because I had to start work in a few minutes, I had to abandon my efforts before I’d even had a chance to try very hard to get this little cat down, to get back into the house.
I made sure I brought all the animals back into the house or garage, so as not to leave any possible reason for that little cat to not come down. I wasn’t sure how long it had been up in that tree, but by how precariously it was perched and how high it was, I knew it had to be very uncomfortable. I moved my work area to the dining room table where I could keep an eye on the little cat for any movement and quickly go outside if it started to come down.
Every hour, I went out and called to it, trying desperately to get it to come down. Unfortunately, because it was so cold, I could only stand to be out there for about 10-15 minutes before I had to get back inside. I even kept my coat on in the house all day because I was going out so much, I was having trouble warming back up before I went back out again. Because it had been so easy both times with KK and Julien, I thought I had a ‘gift’ of cat whispering, to get new, scared cats out of trees. Nope, apparently they were just flukes. Or it only works on male cats and this was a female? Or possibly too feral? In any case, because this cat was so high up in the tree and it was soooo windy that day, I basically had to yell to be heard. My own cats didn’t even want to be outside that day, it was that bad. And they’re half crazy when it comes to the weather.
As I racked my brain trying to figure out what might get this little cat down, the hours ticked by. I had called and called and even gotten a meow or two back, but no movement at all from this little cat, other than it turning around on it’s perch to face another direction. I took food out, I took my cats’ favorite ribbon on a stick toy out and performed a ribbon on a stick dance, I called some more, I begged, I pleaded, I reassured. I did everything I could think of doing, other than cutting down the tree or calling in a bucket truck. The bucket truck idea seems great until you consider the cost and the fact that they probably would have gotten stuck in my wet yard.
Will and I had been texting back and forth about the situation and although he was too busy (and too far away) to get off early, he was able to bring home an extension ladder. We both felt so sure that without any cats or dogs or noises of any kind to keep this little cat up the tree, it would come down anytime. I knew it was very high up there and possibly that was why it was putting off the inevitable, but after at least six hours of it being up there, I couldn’t see how it could stand having to remain clutched to this spindly little branch while not eating, sleeping or going to the bathroom for so long.
Finally, Will made it home with the 12 ft. extension ladder and we quickly set up trying to get the poor little cat down. Unfortunately, the ladder was still about 20 ft. too short, as the cat was just soooo high up there. Add the fact that the tree was too small for an adult to climb, it was too windy and by then, very dark. We worked all night, using two 10 ft. pipes pieced together to try to nudge it, tuna tied to the end of the pipe to coax it, just trying to sweetly talk and call to it. All to no avail. Will even contacted a local arborist on FB (since it was waaay after hours) at one point to see if he could be of assistance. No response. The whole situation just kept dragging on. It was beyond heartbreaking and frustrating. At 1:30 Will had to give up and go to bed, since he had to get up early the next day for work. I remained up and online, searching for something, anything that might help us.
Finally, I went outside to check on it at 3:30am before going to bed, and it was gone. It had spent at least 14.5 hours in the top of that tree. I felt so bad for it. After being in the tree that long, I wanted it inside, where I could warm it up and feed it and make sure it was ok. Random stray cats don’t just show up in trees around here. You can count on four fingers, including this cat, the number of times one has over the years. Two of them are now part of the crew. The others decided not to stay. So maybe it was feral. Or maybe it was mad at us for poking it with that pipe or yelling at it all day. There is even a slight chance that after seeing what I had to offer with my ribbon dance performance, the place just didn’t look like a good fit. In my defense, it was very windy!! I’m normally an excellent ribbon on a stick dancer. Probably.
We’ve continued to watch out for it ever since, but there has been no sign of it. I like to think that it had just wandered off from its safe, loving home and after getting down, it ran straight back there where a warm bowl of food was waiting. I can always hope.