'BlackJack' - The Kitty Who Climbed Twice

(early July 2015)

Executive Summary

"Blackjack" is a young kitty who was stuck 50 feet up a pine tree in Tupelo, MS. Blackjack was very cooperative and made the rescue easy. Amber, thank you for your generous donation to the Oktibbeha County Humane Society!


It was a Saturday afternoon, and my lovely wife and I were trapped in a hellish cylinder containing oodles of closely packed humanity, wondering if our nightmare would ever end. Suddenly, a voice out of nowhere proclaimed "Welcome to Seattle" -- and our ordeal was done, the flight had landed! During the taxi to the terminal, the Kat Fone meowed! AARRGGH! Of course, now that I was a bazillion miles away from Mississippi, I would get a kitty rescue call! It was from Amber, and her kitty was stuck 60 feet up a tree in Tupelo, MS -- could I help? I told her that I could not, gave her some suggestions on who else to try, and that I would be back on Wednesday ready to help if her kitty was still in the tree. On Monday, I learned via text message that the kitty had fallen out of the tree but had escaped serious injury. By a minor miracle, Amber's Dad was able to break the kitty's fall.

Two weeks later, it is noon on a Tuesday, and I receive a text message from Amber that her kitty "Blackjack" is stuck again, this time 50 feet up a different pine tree. I told Amber that I would come right over as it was clear from previous experience that Blackjack has no idea how to get out of a tree except by falling. When I arrived I noted that indeed Blackjack was 50 feet up, and that there were no limbs lower than the one he was on. Fortunately, there were some strong limbs above him, so with my trusty "Bigshot" throwbag slingshot (I wuv you!), I was able to install a climbing line at 60 feet. I installed a second climbing line on a limb immediately below the first one as I am somewhat leery of pine tree branches -- the second climbing line was a safety backup in case my first tie-in point broke.

I geared up, and started up with the rope, with Amber calling to Blackjack. The kitty was very vocal, and obviously wanted to be rescued. When I was about 10 feet under him, Blackjack jumped to small stub about a foot below the limb he was on (it was a good thing Blackjack was small and light as the stub was rotten). He then jumped to another rotten branch about 2 feet under this one. I became very worried that he would fall in his efforts to get to closer to me, so I tried to speed up my ascent. I paused to put the Kat Bag on my hand, then reached Blackjack's branch. He was happy to see me, and it was easy to nab him and put him in the Kat Bag. I informed Amber that Blackjack was safe, and after quick trip down, handed Blackjack off for some food and water inside the house. While packing my gear, Blackjack escaped from the house and came back to the tree to check me out - he was very friendly and allowed me to snuggle with him!