"Bear' - A Gray Kitty Stuck on A gray Day
(mid April 2016)
"Bear" was stuck 45 feet up a sweet gum tree in Fannin MS for two days before I was able to rescue him.
It was about old man bedtime when the Kat Fone yowled. It was Nick; one of his family's kitties was stuck in a tree and his wife and two young daughters were worried about him. Earlier rescue attempts had failed and he wondered if I could help. I checked the weather and my schedule, and both indicated the next day would be a good kitty rescue day. I told Nick that I would be there at 8:00 am. Rachel, Nick's wife, gave me the phone number of her sister Hedi since they would have to leave early for a school trip the next day and they might be gone during the rescue. When I arrived, I called Hedi to check in, and she came over. It turned out that the family had not left yet, and I was introduced to Nick, Rachel, and their two elementary school age daughters. Nick led me to the tree that had captured Bear, and I spotted him at about 45 feet. There were plenty of good limbs for a rope, and Nick said Bear was friendly, so I thought that it might be an easy rescue.
I set a rope about 10 feet below Bear, and started up. The family left for their school trip but Hedi stayed for the rescue. When I reached my tie-in point, I used lanyards to climb closer to Bear. He was meowing nervously as I approached him, and tried to inch a little further out on the limb. As I neared Bear, I needed to step up on a limb below Bear so that I could reach him. Instead of slowly stepping up and gaining Bear's trust, for some reason I decided to rush things by stepping up and trying to grab Bear all in one motion. Since a lot of activity was occurring around Bear simultaneously, he predictably became scared I when touched him and tried to slip away from my grasp. I made a desperate grab at him, but only succeeded in nearly knocking Bear off the limb. Fortunately, Bear was able to regain his hold on the limb and then he moved about 6 feet further out. My stupid decision to rush things had turned a routine rescue into a tougher one.
I dejectedly pulled up my net and rescue pole, and resigned myself to using them which I hate to do. However, as I studied the situation, I realized that by standing on Bear's limb, that I could probably reach him. Before I did this, I spent some time trying to calm Bear down and bribe him to come closer by offering food. He rejected my food offer, but did seem to become calmer. I slowly pulled myself up on Bear's limb. I then carefully reached out and scritched his nose a bit. I then stroked him a couple of times which he accepted without running. However, as I started to grab his scruff, he became scared again and started trying to move out from under my hand. Fortunately, I was able to achieve scruff lock before he escaped. An epic struggle then ensued as I tried to peel Bear off the limb while maintaining my balance on the limb. I was leaning against my lanyard for stability, and had to use both two hands to pull Bear off the limb, while also trying to slip the bag over his head. Once he was in my lap, it was another battle to stuff Bear fully into the bag, but I was eventually successful. I was breathing hard after it was all over since I had been holding my breath during the entire battle.
Once Bear + Kat Bag was secure on my belt, I headed down. On the ground, Hedi and myself went inside the house where food and water were waiting for Bear. I released Bear from the bag and he made a fast scramble to safe haunts in his abode. It had been a trying experience for both Bear and myself! The post rescue picture to the right was taken by Rachel, and shows a happy Gray Bear.