"Nancy" - A Frustrating Experience

(October 2014)

Executive Summary

"Nancy" is a tortise-shell who had been stuck in a tree for 7 days in Boonville, MS. I was able to get her to the ground, only to have her run up a neighboring tree before her owners could corral her. We decided to try again the next day, but she disappeared out of the tree overnight to parts unknown.


I received a phone call and text from Miss K, who told me about "Nancy", who had been stuck in a large oak tree for 7 days. "Nancy" was owned by Miss B., a friend. Miss L and Miss B had just obtained Nancy from the local animal shelter where was she was scheduled to be euthanized, and were hoping that she would like her new home. However, on the very first night home she went up an oak tree and had been there since then. When I arrived at the tree, I thought it was going to be an easy rescue as Nancy was sitting only about 20 feet up and being very quiet. I installed a climbing rope, climbed up, and drew even with her in the tree, but a large stem was between us. I spoke nicely to her, but she did not respond. I quietly tried to position myself closer to her to be able to reach her, but she became upset and climbed up a neighboring stem a little higher. As I tried to get closer to her again, she went to yet another stem, climbed much higher and then very far out on a limb. I was concerned at this point about being able to reach her at all. I maneuvered through the tree and finally reached her branch, but she was very far out on it and I had no way to reach her. At this point, I knew there was little chance of her coming to me. So, I discussed a plan with Miss L and Miss B about cutting the branch, and lowering Nancy and branch to the ground. They agreed to try this, so I proceeded once they passed a saw up to me that I always bring on rescues. I tied a rope to the branch as it was too large for me to handle by myself. I cut through the branch, and as the branch was being lowered, it got caught in another branch about 15 off the ground, with Nancy hanging on to it. I climbed down to the branch, warned Miss L. and Miss B. to get ready, and pushed Nancy's branch off of the branch that it was resting on. Nancy's branch started falling again in a controlled manner via the rope, and Nancy jumped off of the limb at about 7 or 8 feet from the ground. I was elated that Nancy was finally on the ground as it had been about 2 hours of work to get this to this point. My elation only lasted about 15 seconds as she ran to a neighboring large oak tree, climbed up it, and settled in at about 15 feet. Even though Nancy was low to the ground, I knew that the minute that I tried to climb the tree that it was going to be a repeat performance. I was too tired for another tree chase, so I exited the tree and gathered my equipment. I told Miss K. and Miss B. that we would try again the following day once I was rested, Nancy had calmed down, and I had some time to think of a better plan for corralling a skittish cat. However, on the following day, Nancy had disappeared from the tree. A search of the tree and neighboring trees yielded nothing. We were all frustrated, and Miss L. and Miss B. planned to put some food out for her in case she was still in the area. It was a very unsatisfying end to this rescue, even though Nancy was out of the tree.