"Calico Jo" -- A Flowood Kitty in Trouble

(late June 2016)

Executive Summary

"Calico Jo" (assumed name) is a kitty of unknown origin who was stuck 30 feet up an oak tree for over a week in Flowood MS before I was able to rescue her. Kitty Jo was a skittish kitty, and she exited the tree as I was climbing up. Donna was able to grab her on the ground as seen in the adjacent post rescue picture and put her in a cage with food and water; actual owners to be located. Donna, many thanks for your generous donation to the Oktibbeha County Humane Society!


I was at an engineering education conference in New Orleans when the Kat Fone when I noticed a voice mail -- it was Donna, she had received my contact information from the Flowood MS police department. A kitty had been stuck in a tree in her backyard for over a week and she wondered if I could help. It was a Tuesday evening -- I called back and said that I could be there on Thursday morning if the kitty had not come down by then.

When I arrived on Thursday morning, Donna led me to the backyard and showed me where the poor furbaby was being held captive in the tree. The kitty was about 30 feet up on a large limb, next to the trunk. Donna showed me five fishing poles that she had rigged together that she had used to lift some food to the kitty the previous day. The oak tree was on a fence line; it leaned towards the neighbor's yard with all of the large limbs jutting over in that direction. A large wooden fence separated the two yards, and the neighbor's yard contained a large, barking dog. Donna had informed me that the kitty was skittish, as it had climbed higher during a previous rescue attempt with a ladder. I was afraid that if the kitty jumped that it would land in the yard with the dog, so we went next door to talk with the neighbor. Unfortunately, the neighbor was not home. I decided to try to keep the kitty close to the trunk by positioning my climbing line well away from the trunk, over the dog's yard. I hoped that by doing so, the kitty would stay close to the trunk; away from me and the dog.

I was able to place a climbing line on a limb well above the kitty's position. During the line installation, the kitty became alarmed, and climbed down the tree a few feet and over to the side of the trunk furthest away from the climbing line. For a minute I thought the kitty might climb all the way down, but it settled on a small branch at about 20 feet that was lower than all of the large limbs. This encouraged me, as it appeared that I could easily climb above the kitty and cut off the kitty's escape route higher up the tree. Ellen, a neighbor from across the street, came over to help out during the climbing rope installation.

I started climbing, and was soon on a strong limb well above the kitty. My plan was to descend down the trunk and either chase Kitty Jo out of the tree, or get close enough for a grab. However, while I was installing my secondary lanyard, Kitty Jo decided to start down the tree on her own, with Donna and Ellen's vocal encouragment. Kitty Jo reached the ground, and promptly turned into a lovey-dovey kitty that wanted some petting. Donna and Ellen were able to corral her and place her into a kitty carrier that contained food and water. From her actions, we believed Kitty Jo to be somebody's pet, and Donna planned to mount an effort to locate her owner.

There is no video, as I was on the side of the trunk away from Kitty Jo, who made to the ground before I started my descent towards her.