"Cecilia", A Shaken Out Kitty

(mid June 2017)

Executive Summary

"Cecilia" was stuck for five nights at 40 feet in Jackson MS before her rescue. She was in a skinny sweet-gum tree, and I could not reach her. Cecilia dodged my rescue pole attempt and retreated to 50 feet. My only option was to shake her out of the tree. Intervening branches broke her fall, and she was fine. I hope she stays out of trees from now on.


It was a Saturday afternoon, when I noticed a voice mail on the Kat Fone. It was from Summer; her kitty Cecilia had been stuck since Monday night, could I help? I called back and arranged to be there later that afternoon.

When I arrived, Summer met me and led us to the tree in the back yard that held Cecilia prisoner. Summer explained that Cecilia was about 1 year old, and was transitioning to an indoor/outdoor kitty. She had been stuck 50 feet in a neighboring tree three months earlier, and a tree worker was called to get her down. During that rescue, Cecilia retreated to 60 feet and had to be knocked out of the tree with a long pole. This time, Cecilia was perched at 40 feet in a skinny sweet-gum. There was only one decent union at 20 feet, the rest would have to be stem climbed. Will, Summer's brother, helped me unload my truck. I set my rope and started up. When I reached my tie-point, I stem climbed to 30 feet. At this point, the trunk did a jog to the right and then up. This typically indicates some trauma in the tree early in its development, and I did not trust the stem much higher than this. Sweet gums are not the strongest of trees, so I decided not to climb any higher. Furthermore, the tree was already swaying a good bit at this point. I stood up at the jog point, and Cecilia was still five feet out of reach. I tried both wet and dry cat food bribes and Cecilia was not interested. In fact, the food-on-a-stick that I offered spooked her a bit -- she was high-strung, nervous and scared. I pulled up my rescue pole and net, but was not hopeful that this would work. When I tried with the rescue pole, she immediately freaked at the first touch of the cable, hissing frantically and bolting further up the tree to about 50 feet. While I had permission from Summer to cut the tree if necessary, I could not climb high enough to a point where it would be feasible to do this. My only option was to shake Cecilia out of the tree. I was not that worried about injury to Cecilia as there were many small limbs with foliage between her and the ground. A couple of good shakes and Cecilia fell, hitting branches on the way down. Cecilia hit the ground and immediately darted off into the house through a cat door. Summer reported soon afterwards that Cecilia was fine (whew). After packing up, I went inside and took the post rescue picture below. Cecilia was a bit hyper, running around with her tail still fizzed, but she allowed me a couple of drive-by strokes. Before leaving, Summer and I discussed putting tin around the trunks of the worst trees in her backyard to prevent Summer from climbing again. There is no video of the rescue as there was not much to see.