About three years ago, we adopted a cute little calico kitten—we’ll call her “Cat.”. We live a quiet rural area and we routinely let Cat outside. Unfortunately, for the first year, about once a month, while outside she would climb a tree—a tall tree—and I would end up getting a ladder, and maybe some help to get her down.
My friend advised me that he had never seen a cat starve to death up in a tree—meaning that she got up there on her own, eventually she would find a way down. But I could not ignore her pathetic “mews” for help.
For the next year, I simply refused to let Cat out unsupervised. Now that she has matured, and put on a little weight, she seems less inclined to climb anything but fence posts and short dogwood trees.
Typically, I let her out, and in an hour or two go out and check on her. I’ll call for her and she will come stalking out of the underbrush by the creek or out from under the porch, maybe “meow” and look at me as if to say, “What?”
It is December and it has been cold. The other day, we had a mild sunny day and and we both decided it would be a good day for her to spend some time outside.
I went out a couple of hours later, and called for her. She did not show up. Curious, I went looking for her and ended up behind the barn. Then I heard her, answering my calls—she was up in a tree.
With coaxing, she worked here way down to a lower branch, but there were no more lower limbs. It was a smooth barked tree—she could not get a good grip to back down the trunk. The tree was leaning out over the creek and about 15 feet above the water.
I retrieved the extension ladder from the barn—it is 12 feet long fully extended. Standing on the second rung from the top and holding on to the tree, I could just reach Cat. But she was on the other side of the tree trunk. I could pet her, even grab her by the scruff of her neck, but she was so up-tight about being 15 feet in the air that she would not let go of the tree with her claws, and I was concerned that I would not be able to hold her if she struggled—which she would do.
Finally, I returned to the house, got a pillow case and went back for another try. I climbed the ladder, reached around the tree trunk, slipped the pillow case over her head, and worked it down over her body. Oddly, she did not resist. Finally, I was able to close the pillow case so she could not fall out and lifted her, in the bag. Carefully, I came down the ladder, holding the bag with her inside, upside down, yowling. Once on the ground, I…
Let the Cat out of the bag!
It is not often I get to use that phrase literally!