"Isabelle" and Seven Days of Misery

(late May 2017)

Executive Summary

"Isabelle" was stuck 60 feet up a pine tree for seven days near Kosciusko MS before her rescue. Isabelle was not cooperative, and I had to use a rescue pole grab around her neck to complete the rescue. She was ok despite my rough handling.


The Kat Fone rang about mid-morning. An emotional Rhonda was on the phone, her rescue kitty had been stuck for seven days. A rescue attempt by a local volunteer fire department had failed on day #4, and she had just received my contact information. Could I help? I checked the weather, as it was raining over a wide area of Mississippi. I told her that I would come out as soon as the rains had passed, which looked to be very late that afternoon. It was about 6:15 pm when Rhonda and her husband, Joe met me at a local Dollar General and then led me to the rural location of their neighbor's home where the kitty was stuck. The home (Kevin/Holly owners) was on a large pine-wooded tract with a lake and cabin. Kevin and Holly met us, and assured all that their dogs were locked up for the duration of the rescue.

Isabelle was about 50 feet up a pine tree just off the entrance road. She was about 6 feet out on a limb, so I shot a throw bag over her limb near the trunk. I was hoping this would be a climb-up-and-grab-the-kitty easy rescue, but it was not to be. As I pulled up the rope, Isabelle became spooked and climbed higher and out on another limb. She was now at 60 feet. I donned my gear and started climbing, while Joe and Rhonda held a tarp. I reached my tie-in point, pulled myself above it, and added a lanyard to the tree. Isabelle was at least 8-10 feet above me on some spindly limbs, and was not about to come to me. She kept looking down like she wanted to jump. Dark was approaching, so I pulled up my rescue pole and net. I warned Rhonda and Joe to get ready, and started trying to snag her around the body - it was difficult as she was at the end of my reach and there were many small limbs about her. Isabelle kept dodging my attempts and seemed ready to fall at any minute. I told Rhonda that I was going to try for a neck grab, and she said ok. I soon had Isabelle snagged about the neck, and started pulling her along the limbs towards me. I did have to suspend her by the neck a couple of times as I pulled her around branches, and then when I was maneuvering her into my net. I finally positioned her deep in the net and was able to release the rescue cable, causing her to fall to the bottom of the net. Whew, she was safe! I descended and handed Isabelle off to Rhonda.

Later that night, I received a text from Rhonda that Isabelle was fine; eating, drinking and constantly wanting love and attention -- clearly she was happy to be out of the tree. The photo below was taken the next day by Rhonda and shows a relaxed Isabelle!