'Scooter' - The Kitty that could Scoot Up, but not Down

(early July 2015)

Executive Summary

"Scooter" had been stuck in a tree for 6+ days in Florence, MS before being rescued by me. Mark, Layne -- thank you for your generous donations to the Oktibbeha County Humane Society!


It was about noon on a Tuesday when the Kat Fone meowed. The caller's name was Layne, and she was very concerned about a neighbor's kitty who had been stuck for 6+ days high up in a sweet gum in Florence, MS. She called the Mississippi Animal Rescue League for assistance, and was given my contact information. I said that I could help. She contacted the kitty's owner, and received permission for me to climb the tree. I packed up the truck and headed out.

I met Mark, the kitty's owner, when I arrived at the house. Mark told me that he had been trying to find assistance for "Scooter" but did not have any luck, and was going to try a climbing tree stand as a last resort to try to rescue Scooter. I am glad that Mark did not try this, as Scooter was 50 feet up the tree which is very high for a climbing tree stand. The tree itself made this rescue more difficult than the normal rescue. The tree had no major limbs until the limb that Scooter was on. There were also two trees very close to Scooter's tree, and the view up to Scooter was heavily obscured. Initially, I did not want to risk shooting a throwbag up to Scooter's limb for fear of spooking him, so I initially attempted to shimmy up the tree using footloops. This is a slow, tiring climbing technique, and at about 10 feet, I realized that I was going to be exhausted before I reached Scooter due to the heat and humidity, so I gave this up. I decided to risk a throwbag shot fairly far away from the trunk to Scooter's limb. The throwbag shot did spook Scooter somewhat - he moved to the far side of the trunk and came down a couple of feet, and then climbed back up and settled on a small limb opposite the original limb that he had been on.

I pulled my climbing line up, and then installed a canopy anchor. In doing this, some of the foliage was removed as I dragged the rope up, and I saw that my rope was actually snagged on a small limb above my target limb. I had to drag my rope back down, pull up another throwbag, and then pull my rope back up using the re-positioned throwbag. After some further struggles, my canopy anchor was finally installed on the target limb. All of these shenanigans took about 1.5 hours, and I was quickly flagging in the heat and humidity. I finally started up the rope. Scooter's cries indicated that he was very scared. A couple of times Scooter looked up the tree like he wanted to climb higher, but he was too tired to do so. I was glad, as it would have been difficult for me from an energy level viewpoint to chase Scooter around the tree. Moving slowly, I was eventually able to inch close enough to Scooter to make a nab and put him in the Kat Bag. Once that was done, both Scooter and I were relieved that his ordeal was over with. I headed down, and gave Scooter to Mark for some much needed food and water. Layne returned home from work in time for the final stages of the climb and was able to see her proactive efforts pay off with a successful rescue. Scooter and I both thank you Layne!