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What to do when cat stuck up tree

(19 Posts)
Southerngirl77 Sat 16-Jun-18 21:39:50

Last week my 9 mth old cat climbed a large weeping willow and was then unable to climb down or get herself out of the tree.

Unfortunately none of the neighbours had a long enough ladder nor could I manage to climb the tree. She was 1 - 2 stories high and no amount of coaxing, shaking dreamies or using the laser dot was working. By midnight she’d been in the tree 4 hours so I went inside hoping if I left her on her own she might try to get down on her own. I went back out at 2am and she was still in the same place and constantly meowing.
I finally managed to get her out of the tree at 4am - I had to duct tape two brooms and a snow shovel together lengthways and then hang a canvas bag on the end with a bowl of food inside. I got the bag as close to her as possible and she eventually jumped in.

Poppy was stuck in the tree for over 8 hours - any advice on who I could’ve called if I couldn’t have got her out of the tree - do you call a tree surgeon? I hesitate to call the fire brigade as that’s not what they are there for. Any suggestions?

OP’s posts: |
AveABanana Sat 16-Jun-18 21:59:45

Veteran of a 22 hour cat in a tree incident here. And a short 8 hour one (first time round) The RSPCA say to leave them, you don't see dead cats in trees. The fire service say they won't come but our local one published stats recently that listed how many pets they'd rescued.

Papergirl1968 Sat 16-Jun-18 22:05:24

I think the fire service will come if they think there’s a chance you might climb up yourself and fall.
Very enterprising to get her down with two brooms, a snow shovel and a canvas bag containing food. You ought to patent it!

thecatneuterer Sun 17-Jun-18 12:49:56

Well done for getting him down OP.

Funny you should ask this now. I was at a cat in tree rescue on Friday as it happens. The cat had been there for at least six days already. The people who noticed him had rigged up a bowl attached to a very long pole, which they had been using, together with a long ladder, to feed him.

Both the fire service and the RSPCA had attended, and both gave up. The problem was that if anyone approached him he went further and further up the tree. So while it may be possible for anyone with a long ladder to fetch down a very compliant cat, that just won't work for anything nervous. And of course you need to be both good at climbing ladders and at scruffing a cat and getting into a carrier (it would have to be a top loader), and then negotiating down the ladder again with the cat. Not many people are experienced enough to be able to scruff, secure and stuff (in a carrier) a nervous cat, and anyone who isn't totally confident about doing that risks more harm than good.

In this case that wouldn't have worked anyway as the cat just went further and further up. It always came back down again as far as the main V of the tree, but it made it impossible to try to get it and of course the cat risked falling from the flimsier upper branches.

So we rigged up a very long ladder, covered with something to make it 'solid'. Even that wasn't long enough though so I had to park my car on the pavement and put the bottom of the ladder in the boot of my car to make it higher as you can see in the photo.

Then it was just a question of waiting. The cat was definitely thinking about it but needed a bit more prompting. But it was getting late, and the people whose house it was outside wanted to go to sleep, and we couldn't really leave the ladder there unattended, so we decided to try again the next day (yesterday) and the people were told not to feed it as we needed it to be hungry. The people stored the ladder in their house and they said they would be out in the morning but would contact me when they returned so we could try again.

But they didn't go out. They put the ladder up when I wasn't there. Someone on the street decided to have a go at climbing the ladder and grabbing the cat. Even though we had discussed that that would be a very bad idea the people didn't stop him. The man tried to make a grab for the cat, which ran into the top branches, and fell to the ground.

Luckily he got away with only a fractured jaw. He could easily have died. And I was quietly furious.

So the answer to the question is - it all depends, but if a cat is nervous then rigging something up to enable the cat to get down by itself is always going to be the safest option for all concerned. And the moral is never let 'have a go heroes', with no experience with cats, anywhere near the scene, unless the cat is very, very friendly and compliant.

halcyondays Sun 17-Jun-18 12:52:36

The fire brigade probably won't do this any more. I think I read of someone who got a tree surgeon to rescue a cat up a tree.

thecatneuterer Sun 17-Jun-18 12:53:52

The fire brigade did attempt it in this case. But as soon as they realised the cat was nervous and just went further up they gave up.

thecatneuterer Sun 17-Jun-18 12:55:28

We have also used tree surgeons in the past. But again they need to be very good at scruffing and stuffing cats, and most aren't. And if the cat is exceptionally nervous even a tree surgeon wouldn't be able to help.

Southerngirl77 Sun 17-Jun-18 16:40:02

Thank you all for your replies. thecatneuterer you make a good point about the nervousness of the cat - a handful of neighbours had come out to help me and it just made her climb higher into the tree because she was scared of strangers. It wasn’t until everyone else had gone home and there was just me there that I could coax her down to some lower branches. And as you said the fire brigade or tree surgeon etc may not be able to help if their presence makes the cat climb higher out of reach.
I’m hoping Poppy’s tree climbing experience has put her off climbing trees for a long time!

OP’s posts: |
stayathomegardener Sun 17-Jun-18 17:00:50

DH is a tree surgeon veteran of many cat rescues.
He is very confident with scruffing small furry or feathery things.
However in his experience the chances of the cat jumping are quite high so he usually has a king sized quilt and team on the ground just in case.
They do come down, you never see mummified cats in trees.

somewhereovertherain Sun 17-Jun-18 17:21:40

Shot gun. Horrible things.

RandomMess Sun 17-Jun-18 17:26:25

I was actually going to suggest a tin of tuna blush very few cats will let the opportunity of tuna pass them by...

TroysMammy Sun 17-Jun-18 17:26:47

Get lost troll. You have no business on The Litter Tray of you hate cats so much. With that hate you should just crawl back under the stone you dragged yourself out of.

stayathomegardener Sun 17-Jun-18 17:59:59

Good grief @somewhereovertherain what a horrible post.
I'm not a cat fan as have allergic reactions to them but can still totally emphasise that they are someone's much loved pet.

Dumbledoresgirl Sun 17-Jun-18 18:07:29

'You never see mummified cats in trees.' Well, to be fair, I don't go looking for them and I'm unlikely to be in a tree ever, and certainly not at a height where a cat would be stuck. wink But, point taken.

What a gorgeous car OP. And such an innovative rescue method. I'm glad she is safe again.

Dumbledoresgirl Sun 17-Jun-18 18:08:50

Damn autocorrect. It tried go change cat to car once and I thought I had stopped it, but obviously not.

thecatneuterer Sun 17-Jun-18 18:20:02

I wish it were possible to shoot trolls with a shotgun.

On the question of 'you never see mummified cats in trees', well of course you don't. If a cat were to die in a tree it would be pretty well hidden, and of course people don't go round looking for cats in trees, and then it would fall to the ground at some point. It would only be realised that it had in fact fallen dead from a tree if someone witnessed it fall. A dead cat on the ground could have come from anywhere. And if it were to fall at night then the body would be taken by foxes before anyone had a chance to see it.

I don't know how many, if any, cats die in trees, but the fact you don't see them dead in them proves nothing.

We have done a number of rescues where the cat has been there a week or more (as in the one yesterday, although that one was of course being fed). One was around 100ft up and a tree surgeon eventually got that one down. Would any of them have got down without help? I really don't know but waiting around a week to find out is awful.

madamginger Sun 17-Jun-18 18:33:34

We have a 30 foot cherry tree in our garden and our stupid cat climbs it to catch birds that land in it, who promptly fly off when she gets close hmm
She’s got stuck a couple of times so I put my garden table under the tree with a chair on top to build up the height, a tin of food and just leave her to it. She’s so far always managed to get back down.

LanguidLobster Sun 17-Jun-18 22:07:25

I think it was DancesWithOtters whose cat got stuck up a tree for....something like 8 or 11 days? Long time, anyway.

Cat couldn't really get stuck anywhere for long as luckily there's building work next door so I'd just shout at them to get their tall ladder as I did when she got stuck on the sill once.

You sound very inventive OP!

LanguidLobster Sun 17-Jun-18 22:12:10

Sorry I didn't answer original question, yes if there was nothing I could do and builders weren't around I would call emergency services

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