Sweet mackerel tabby cat clings onto man’s leg and cries during tree rescue

Tabby cat cries out and clings on when rescued from a tree. Video from Twitter. The reason why I don’t ’embed’ Twitter videos is because they can be deleted on Twitter which would mean they disappear on this website without my knowledge.

See some interesting links to cats falling at the end of the article.

The interesting aspect of this rescue is that the cat was not very high up unless the man had climbed a good distance up the tree which I don’t think happened. This indicates to me that this is a timid cat which is reinforced by what we see in the video.

The cat was clearly very relieved to get down. The big message I take from the video is that domestic cats genuinely do not know how to get down sometimes. They need help which is a serious failing in their thinking. You’d have thought that over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution the cat would be able to ensure that they can get down. Most domestic cats do but some get stuck. All wild cats get down with human intervention.

It seems that the domestic cat over about 10,000 years of domestication has partly lost their wildcat ancestor’s ability to climb down as well as up. I’d put all the problems of cats stuck in trees to domestication, which has altered the cat’s mentality and abilities.

The domestic cat is not as smart as their wildcat cousin and ancestor. We know that. It’s because our darling cats are underchallenged. Their brains are less well exercised as are their bodies.

In good homes, all their needs are met. Food being the most important which impacts their desire to hunt. Not completely because a well-fed domestic cat will hunt instinctively as their wildcat behaviours are embedded in their DNA. But often they don’t hunt with commitment and leave the prey animal under the dining room table as they prefer commercial cat food.

Of course, the domestic cat’s anatomy is not tailored to getting down from trees as their claws curve backwards. The have three choices when getting off trees (a) shimmy in reverse which is unnatural or (b) race down forwards while using the branches that they encounter as brakes until they are able to leap from the lowest branches to the ground. There is a third way: leaping off the top and fanning out their limbs to slow their fall. This works okay if the ground is soft.

Cat falling on all fours
Cat falling on all fours. Picture in public domain.

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Daring cat rescue on GR’s west side garners attention on social media

NEWS AND COMMENT: I have unashamedly stolen Fox17’s headline because I like it. Thanks Annie Szatkowski. It is a good little cat story from Grand Rapids, Mich. What I like about it is the confident way this man climbs up about 45 feet using a clever pully system. He does not need to climb the tree. He pulls himself up. They are called mechanical extenders.

Of the device he said:

“I use one that’s attached to my right foot, then I use a knee extender that’s spring-loaded, and those are friction devices, so they will move one direction on the rope. So as I step up and then put pressure down, it locks on the rope and allows me to walk up the rope like I would go up a ladder.”

Here is the FB video:

The Westside rescue made the news! Check us out on Fox17 news.

This cat was rescued from a tree at Richmond Park this evening! Shout out to Erick Baker with Tip Top Tree Care LLC for his amazing climbing skills!

Posted by Robin Lee L AW on Saturday, March 13, 2021

Please note: these sorts of videos often stop working over time. They invariably do so if you are on this page months after it was posted the video may be dead. If that has happened: sorry, but I can’t control it. Here is a still photo instead:

Cat rescued from tree by Erick Baker of Tip Top Tree Care LLC
Cat rescued from tree by Erick Baker of Tip Top Tree Care LLC

As usual it is tense. I always feel something is going to go wrong at the last minute and the cat will fall. But this guy is solid and calm. He takes his time to grab the cat by the scruff. I have one question: How did he get the rope attached to the tree in the first place which he then uses as the basis for his pully system to inch his way up? Fair question. It is not in the video.

The cat was too big for his bag so he bravely came down while holding the cat by the scruff. He shouts down for a carrier so that when he lands he’ll be able to ensure that the cat does not run away. They wanted to make sure that the cat was reunited with their owner.

It all worked out great but a bit tense as I said. The video was posted on the We Are Westsiders Facebook page. The cat was spotted up the tree by dog walkers in Richmond Park.

Robin Walenga was called. He’s an expert cat rescuer apparently. She immediately thought of Erick Baker of Tip Top Tree Care LLC, the guy you see carrying out the daring rescue. He’d done two cat rescues before.

There are guys who’ve done more but he looks great in this one. He said that the climb was a bit ‘iffy’. He meant that the cat was ‘out over a leaner’. He showed a nice balance between daring and caution. Above all the cat was down and safe. Would they have come down by themselves in due course. We’ll never know.

It has always surprised me that some cats despite their heritage of being great tree climbers find themselves stuck. Does the wild cat ancestor of the domestic cat have the same problems? I think not. So what is going on? Is it because the domestic cat has lost some of its skills over 10k years of domestication? Or is it because we think that they are stuck but they are not. They’re just taking their time and they will get down eventually.

No one has ever seen the skeleton of a cat in a tree. You decide.

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Wild cats never get stuck in trees but domestic cats do

I have never read, either on the internet or in a book, about a species of wild cat being stuck up a tree. It doesn’t happen in my opinion because any wild cat species is more in tune with nature. They’ve evolved to be great climbers and evolution is precise. Nature would not have allowed them to be misguided enough to climb a tree that they cannot get down from.

Wild cats are aware of their capabilities. They stick within their limits unless they are forced to take great risk for whatever reason such as being chased by a predator or their prey animal turns on them. But, I stress, you never read on the internet about a group of people crowded around a tall tree in Africa urging a wild cat to get down because they’re starving to death at the top of it. Okay, I have painted a ridiculous picture to emphasise the point, but we do see a lot of domestic cats supposedly stuck high up in a tree or on a telegraph pole.

Cat in tree. Is she stuck?
Cat in tree. Is she stuck? Picture in the public domain on Pinterest.

The first point to make, I think, about domestic cats being stuck in trees is that some are not genuinely stuck. People think that they are but if given sufficient time they would come down. I’m sure some people would disagree with me. Dr Fogle, DVM says that, “If your cat is up a tree and seems to be stuck, keep your cool. Most will eventually come down on their own.”

In his statement he is saying by implication, that some cats don’t come down on their own. Further, it can be tricky for a stranger to get a cat down because they are strangers and a cat will tend to move further away, which is upwards. That’s a complication because the owner probably won’t have the ability to climb up to 40 feet and therefore she/he has to rely on a stranger to do it.

I ain’t stuck; just looking down and enjoying myself. Photo by jonas.lowgren

So why do domestic cats get stuck up trees? I can only think that the reason is that they have lost some of their natural instincts and are unable to gauge their abilities and therefore lose confidence. Also, their abilities compared to wild cat species have been diminished by being domesticated. In short, they’ve become distanced from nature by living in an artificial world with people. The human world is artificial to a cat. Of course they adapt to it and it becomes their world but to the raw cat inside them it is artificial and abnormal.

So let’s say that a small proportion of domestic cats get stuck in trees but smaller than the numbers that we see on the internet because some of them are brought down before they’ve had time to come down. So how long do you leave them up there? That’s a moot point and there’s no formula for it. One lady on the Quora.com website says that she is an experienced feral cat provider and she allows two days up a tree at most before they should be rescued or come down of their own accord.

I think that’s too short a time frame. Many cats have been trapped in containers for up to a month and survived. I’m not saying people should ignore a cat stuck up a tree for a month or anywhere near it. I’m just saying that people should give them time and try and entice them down with treats.

Perhaps, sometimes, people in their eagerness to help make matters worse. Let’s think about it: a cat is 30 feet up a tree and preparing to come down after 2 days. A group of people, all of which are strangers, gather around the base of the tree. Their presence may be offputting to a cat because he or she is perhaps accustomed to living with one person and rarely meets other people. If I’m right it may be wise to simply disperse and leave the cat alone and watch from afar.

Cat stuck up a tree
Cat stuck up a tree. Pic: Sam Constanza for NY Daily News.

I would give a cat several days to come down, at least, although I would be highly concerned about it. I think this is the root of the problem. Once a cat has been up a tree for a day or so the owner becomes justifiably very concerned and wants to take action. They can’t wait because they are anxious about the welfare of their cat.

In some respects when a cat is apparently stuck up a tree the cat’s owner is in a worse position than their cat. Their cat may look a bit puzzled but they rarely looked terrified, anxious or pleading to come down. It is the owner who is terrified, anxious and pleading to get her cat down.

One problem with cats who are ready to come down trees is that their claws are curled backwards which makes them perfect for climbing upwards but it means that they have to come down backwards and domestic cats are not very good at going in reverse. Some cats charge down forwards using branches to break their speed. Confidence plays a role at this point.

But the bottom line is that nature has given the domestic cat the skill to climb upwards and the skill to climb downwards. Otherwise nature would not have given this animal the skill to climb upwards. Nature does not work like that. It is logical. The problem, as I see it, is that the domestic cat, living in the human world, loses his confidence through lack of practice in natural surroundings, to get down. Eventually they will normally come down when their hunger and thirst overcomes their lack of confidence.

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Discussion: So….who do you turn to for help in your community to save a cat ‘stuck’ in a dangerous place?

We’ve all read horror stories about cats trapped in places where they’re unable to get out of without assistance. Personally, I’ve read posts by ladies practically begging on Facebook for somebody, ANYBODY to help save a cat who has gotten itself into a bad (and most often dangerous) situation. So….who do you turn to for help in your community to save a cat up a tree or a cat down a storm drain?

Ginger cat in tree
Ginger cat in tree

The answer is…it depends on where you live as well as who you know. A lot of people wait several days before seeking help. Many cats (most, in fact) can climb a tall tree but are unable to get back down. I read about more cat-stuck-in-tree situations than any other.

Storm drains are also high on the list because there’s a risk the drain will flood. A cat with its head or body tightly stuck ANYWHERE will definitely need help and will need it fast.

I usually suggest for the distressed cat owner to contact their local fire department or police or even animal control. The problem arises when all three say rescuing cats isn’t part of their job description. There is a cat registry available online for the U.S. and other countries. Whether it’s up-to-date I have no idea.

Sometimes your best bet will be in contacting a roofing company or a tree cutting service. They may charge or they may not, but it’s an option you may have to use. If you attend a regular church you may want to give clergy a call and ask if any members would be well-suited to rescue a cat.

This is another case where you may want to be involved in local government to the extent you can call on a council member for help. Contribute to your local fire department and attend a few of their fundraisers. It’s not always what you know but who you know that can provide assistance by at least making a few phone calls.

I’ve covered a lot of cat-up-a-tree situations that can be found here. PoC is filled with articles of cats losing one of their ‘nine lives’ by being stuck up a tree, behind a wall, in a storm drain, under a floor or in a ‘grate’ of one kind or another. Police, firemen, animal control officers, veterinarians, Good Samaritans and plumbers have all ended up in a PoC story.

Readers, do any of you have a cat rescue story? Who finally stepped up to save a cat in distress? Please use the comment section below to share your cat tale.


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Piggyback police rescue: Two branches of Colorado law enforcement help a cat stuck up a tree

A cat in Colorado has two branches of law enforcement to thank for his rescue from a tree after being stuck there most of the day. He even got a piggyback ride back down!

cat rescued from tree
cat gets a piggyback ride after being rescued by police (Facebook)

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office and the Florence Police Department worked together on a call on Wednesday after getting word the cat had climbed a tree and couldn’t get back down.

We can all watch these men at work (thank goodness for men who like to climb trees) since Sheriff’s Sgt. Richards filmed a video of the rescue as it rode on Sgt. Slattery’s shoulders.


A Facebook post explained the rescue Wednesday evening using a bit of humor

“Earlier today, Florence Police Department – Colorado Sgt Slattery assisted #FCSO Sgt Richards in getting this cat, who was stuck in a tree for most of the day, down safely. Sgt Slattery is also a volunteer Fire fighter and has waaaay longer arms than Sgt Richards!”

You may also thank them on the Facebook video link. As I’ve said before, as long as there are men and women who enjoy climbing trees, cats will continue to be rescued when curiosity gets the best of the cat.

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No one would help get her cat out of a tree….until 2 Good Samaritans showed up at her home

This began as a frustrating situation and ended with two Good Samaritans who drove to a Fayetteville, North Carolina home where a cat was stuck up a tree. Working along with the worried owner, the couple managed to rescue the cat.

ABC11 screenshot

Melissa Stanley cares for a cat named Lightskin who somehow managed to get himself stuck in a tree. He was there for six days without coming down for food or water.

Despite pleas to animal control (who said they didn’t have the proper equipment) to wildlife and environment (who charged too much) and to the fire department (who cited liability and doesn’t perform ‘treed cat’ rescues anymore), no one would help.

Melissa sent out a plea to ABC11 News

“We just want our pet down so we can feed her and take her home and get her warm. And we can’t do anything without her coming out of the tree and I don’t have any way of getting her down. We need some help, anything.”

The biggest concern Melissa had was that Lightskin would fall out of the tree into the creek behind it.

Let’s all give a big shout out to Maile Manuel and her husband who drove from Stedman, North Carolina and were able to get Lightskin out of the tree.

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10 minutes of cats being rescued from trees (looking down)

Cat rescued from tree
Cat rescued from tree

Canopy Cat Rescue fill a need because there appears to be a dearth of professional tree climbers who are committed to rescuing cats stuck in trees. These two guys appear to be highly professional and they rescue cats from trees almost full-time. They say that they have other things to do but most of their time is spent looking down about 50-100 feet above the ground while stroking a kitten or cat who is balanced precariously on a narrow branch oblivious to the dangers. The highest stuck cat was 165 feet. Sometimes the cats pee on them (perhaps in fear) or defecate. Tough job!

This video has a different perspective on cat rescue from trees. You see the action from a videocam attached to the tree climber. Normally we see videos from the ground and a tiny speck in a tree which is the stuck cat.

It is certainly something that I could not do because as I have become more elderly I have developed a fear of heights.These guys have rescued 3,000 cats from trees and therefore they know all about it. They say that there are occasions when domestic cats simply are stuck and need help. They say that after a day or two they need help and sometimes cats are stuck for six days or more.

Strange domestic cat failure

At one time I asked whether anybody has seen a dead cat in a tree because we never hear about cats being stuck in trees and dying there because nobody had rescued them. The point that I was getting at was that eventually cats come down but according to these guys I am wrong. It is a strange state of affairs for a domestic cat to find himself in. You would have thought that cats would naturally know their limits preventing this problem happening.

Small wild cat ancestor does not get stuck

We can’t ask cats why they get stuck. Are they stuck because they are frightened of coming down backwards? All domestic cats have to come down backwards because their claws are designed that way. There is one small wild cat species, the margay, which can come down forwards i.e. headfirst because they can twist their paws around allowing them to grip as they come down. This small wild cat lives in trees more or less.

I am convinced that you would never see a North African wildcat stuck in a tree. This small wild cat species is, as you know, the forerunner of the domestic cat. Why then should domestic cats get stuck in trees if in their DNA there is the natural ability to get down?

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Cat rescue: Cat stuck in the top of a tree for three days after escaping hawk

On October 21 an Ohio fire and rescue department became heroes to a cat who escaped a hawk but instead landed in the top of a tree for three days.

Erie Valley Fire & Rescue located in Navarre posted on their Facebook page

“Probably the most common question any firefighter is ever asked is “So do you rescue cat’s out of trees?”

Why yes, we do that 🙂

Crews this morning, with the assistance of T Rowley Lawns LLC, helped a citizen with a kitty believed to have been picked up by a hawk and dropped at the top of a tree. Typically cats will find their way down but after 3 days it was time to intervene. We’re happy to report after the rescue that the “Fluffy” is uninjured and enjoying some TLC from her owners, as well as some TLC from Chief Annen :)”

The fire department received a call on Sunday from cat owner Ellen Albert saying her cat had been stuck in a tree for three days. Neighbors told Ellen that cats will come down on their own, but that’s not what happened in Fluffy’s case.

In an interview with Fox8 News, Ellen said

“She wasn’t going to make it. She was going to die up there and she was all alone, the trees are swaying.”

Fire Chief Rick Annen said he believes Fluffy was scooped up by a hungry hawk after hawks were seen in nearby trees. Fluffy didn’t have his collar on when he was rescued and his family believes he slipped the collar and fell into the tree.

Chief Annen said he’d never seen a cat not come down from a tree in the 40 years he’s been in fire and rescue.

Our thanks go out to everyone involved with Fluffy’s rescue. Not only do hawks carry away cats, but small dogs are also at risk. It’s important to remain on alert if your cat or dog is allowed outside. Our neighbor almost lost her Chihuahua to a hawk with her inside her gated yard watching.

Have any of the readers had a cat stuck in a tree who refused to come down on his own? Please sound off in the comments.

Photos courtesy Erie Valley Fire & Rescue.

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