"Heather", "Watson", "Garfield" - A Trio of Kitties in Trouble
(early March 2016)
"Heather" (4 days, 40 ft, pine, Hattiesburg), "Watson" (5 days, 30 ft, pine, Hattiesburg) and "Garfield" (5 days, 80 ft, pine, New Hope) are a trio of kitties rescued over a 2-day period in March 2016. Heather and Watson are repeat offenders; I hope these kitties have learned their lesson! Sara (Heather's owner) and Katrina (Watson's owner) -- many thanks for your generous contributions to the Oktibbeha County Humane Society!
Sara texted me and said that Heather (rescued Sep 2015) was in trouble again, this time 40 feet up a pine tree and had been stuck for two days. I told her I could come out day after next. When I arrived, Sara showed me Heather in the tree, who was crying loudly from her perch. Heather had been a skittish kitty before and I had to use the rescue pole, but her cries made me think that she was desperate enough to allow me to touch her this time. After installing a climbing line, I was soon nearing Heather. However, her cries changed into hissing and spitting, and she clambered 10 feet higher up. I asked Sara to pass up the rescue pole and net, and I followed Heather up the tree. After both Heather and myself ran out of climbing space, I raised the rescue pole to try a nab. Heather ducked under it, and descended one limb down. She started going out on this limb, and I was afraid she was going to jump, so I hastily tried to position the noose in front of her so that she could walk into it. However, I moved the pole too fast, bumping into Heather, and I knocked her off the limb. She fell a couple of limbs down, tried to hang on, but then fell to the ground (about 35 feet). Fortunately, Heather was able to do a flying squirrel imitation and stuck a perfect four-feet-pointed-down landing. She ran into the garage, and Sara reported that she was ok. Later that night, I re-verified with Sara that Heather was doing ok. So, I learned an important lesson -- DO NOT KNOCK KITTIES OUT OF TREES WITH YOUR STUPID RESCUE POLE, YOU STUPID HEAD! I will try to remember this important lesson the next time I have to use the dreaded rescue pole. There is no video as I cannot bear to watch Heather falling out of tree -- I have burned it.
Katrina texted me and said that Watson (Dec 2015) was in trouble again, this time stuck for 5 days 30 feet up a skinny pine tree. I told her that I planned to be in Hattiesburg the next day, and that I would rescue Watson after I rescued Heather.
When I arrived, Katrina led me to Watson's tree. It was a skinny pine tree, but not as skinny as the Tree of Terror that I climbed to rescue Snowball in Nov 2015. Watson was also only 30 feet up instead of 50 feet like Snowball. I would have to do stem climbing (tedious) but I hoped that all would go well when I reached Watson. I geared up, and started stem climbing the tree. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally reached Watson. He was draped over some limbs in a convoluted position, and seemed like he had very little strength left. I stepped up on my foot loop, and tried to pull Watson by the scruff frontwards off the limb with my right hand that had the Kat bag, since I did not have enough reach to pull him backwards off the limb. However, his hind legs and belly were draped over a limb and I could not pull him off. I needed to switch hands, but I was afraid he might spook if I let him go. I decided to risk it, and quickly grabbed his scruff with my left hand, and then pushed his rear end up and over the limb with my right hand. Once he was off the limb, I shifted my scruff grab from the left to the right hand, and was able to pull him safely into the Kat bag. With a sigh of relief, I started down. I handed him off to a grateful Katrina who brought him inside for food and water. The post-rescue picture shows a happy Watson!
On the drive from Heather to Watson, the Kat Fone yowled -- it was Bobby, his adult daughter's family cat, Garfield, was stuck 'way high' up a pine tree in New Hope, MS -- could I help? I said that I would be able to help the next morning.
When I arrived, I met Michelle and Charlie, who owned Garfield. They pointed at a pine tree across the road, and looking up, I spotted some orange fur at about 70 feet. Wow, he was high, and the first good limb was at 60 feet. I have no idea how a 9 year old cat climbed that high, he must have been really scared of something. After a few failures with the Big Shot, I was finally able to install a climbing line at 60 ft. I installed a backup line in a neighboring tree as I did not fully trust the limb that I was on. I started up, and reached my tie-in-point. I then advanced my line to the next good limb about 8 feet up. Once I reached that limb, I saw that Garfield had decided to go further up the tree. The limbs were fairly dense at this point, so I started lanyard climbing above my tie-in point. Occasionally, a light wind would blow, causing my world to sway and my brow to sweat. I prayed that the wind would remain light, else my underwear would need serious cleaning. When I finally reached Garfield, we were at 80 feet, and the tree was 85 feet tall. Fortunately, Garfield was a laid back kitty, and allowed me to scruff him and put him in the Kat bag. I started reversing course down the tree, and before long I was able to hand Garfield off to Michelle who put him in a cage with food and water. He ate and drank some, then wanted out so that he could receive some sweet loving from Michelle, who obliged. The rescue took 3 hours from start to finish, and I was tuckered out from my three rescues in two days! There is no video as my camera malfunctioned during the climb.