"Pinky" and The Throwline-Eating Tree

(late September 2016)

Executive Summary

"Pinky" is a 9 month old rescue kitty who stuck overnight in a small wobbly tree near her house in Tupelo MS. After wrestling with a nearby throwline-eating tree, I was finally able to get Pinky out of the tree and back into the arms of her owner, Mark. Also, many thanks to Mark for your generous donation to the Oktibbeha County Humane Society!


The Kat Fone yowled....again! Wow, after being quiet for 7 weeks, it had rung on four successive days (the Summer rescue, two times where the kitties came down overnight, and then today). Mark was on the phone; he had found my information on Facebook. One of his kitties had not shown up for her morning meal, and he had discovered her in a nearby tree. She was only 15 to 20 feet high, but the tree was small and wobbly -- could I help? I said that I could be there around 5:30 that day.

When I arrived, Mark led me to Pinky's tree, which was indeed small and wobbly. It went up about 15 feet, angled sharply, then went out about 15 more feet at a small incline, where it ended at a 20 foot height. Pinky was at the angle point, but she would not come down the rest of the way. The tree was too wobbly to put a ladder on, and I was afraid it would only scare Pinky further out on the trunk. Fortunately, there was a small hardwood tree right next to it that looked climbable. This tree went up for 25 feet with no limbs, then the trunk split into two pieces that continued straight up, again with no branches. My plan was to install a climbing rope where the trunk split, and then swing over to Pinky's tree for the rescue.

I put a throwline over the union, then tried to pull a climbing rope through, but this failed as the bark was rough and the union was tight. I untied my climbing line, and tried to retrieve my throwline, but this got stuck in the union due to a small tangle in the line that I had been too lazy to take out (and was now paying for my laziness). I then tried a different, heavier throw line but all this succeeded in doing was causing the throwline plus the throwbag to become stuck. I tried one more time with a third throwline, attempting to drag the rope through in the opposite direction, but this failed as well. At this point, I had wasted 30 minutes without accomplishing anything, and darkness was only an hour away.

I resigned myself to doing a slow, laborious stem climb up the tree. During this time, Pinky retreated all the way out to the end of the tree, and settled in some branches, waiting for something interesting to occur. When I reached 15 feet, even with the point where Pinky had previously been, both Mark and I started sweet talking to Pinky, trying to convince her to come back to her original spot. We must have done something right, because Pinky perked up at the sweet talking, and eventually worked her way back to her original spot. By pushing out from the tree, and leaning over as far as possible, I was just able to reach her. Pinkie was welcoming, and allowed me to nab her and put her in the cat bag. I dropped Pinky and the Kat Bag the short distance down to Mark, who took her out of the bag and reassured her that all was well. I then stem climbed up the rest of the way to the union, rescued my stuck throwbag, and then came down. It was a lot of work for what should have been an easy rescue; but I was very grateful to Pinky for being a cooperative kitty - she would have made it a lot more difficult if she had stayed out at the end of the trunk.

There is no video as the stem climbing and stuck throwlines had me flustered and I forgot to turn on my camera. The picture to the right shows Pinky snuggling with Mark post-rescue (Pickles, Pinky's brother, is also in the picture).