"PUFF" In A Pickle

(early September 2018)

Executive Summary

"Puff" was stuck 60 feet up a sweetgum tree for four nights in Little Rock, MS before her rescue. Puff tried to bolt up the tree when I reached her, but fortunately I was able to nab her. Allen and Belinda, many thanks for your very generous donation to the Oktibbeha County Humane Society! And Miss Pat, thanks for the drive-home snacks and donation!

Details

It was about 7:30 am on a Sunday when I noticed a text message on the Kat Fone from Nikki. Her mother's cat, 'Puff', had been stuck in a tree for four days in Little Rock MS, could I help? Nikki provided me with her parent's number, and I called and talked with Belinda and Allen (Belinda's husband). They had been trying to rescue Puff for days, and were unsuccessful. I arranged to be there later that morning, and I hoped to beat the afternoon rain that was forecast.

When I arrived, Allen led me to the tree, which was situated at the west side of their large front yard. It was a tall sweetgum, and Puff was hanging out at about 60 feet. Using a casting rod, Allen had been able to place a kite string over her limb which they used to haul up a bucket with food and water. She had drunk the water, but would not get in the bucket to be lowered. The kite string was too far out on the limb for me to use as a tie-in point, so I would have to shoot a throw bag. The understory and foliage around the tree was dense, preventing easy rope installation. There was a union right above Puff's perch, and I had a tiny window through the branches for a throw bag shot. However, a higher power was helping, and I was able to hit it on my third try. Puff was silent and still during rope installation even though there was lots of limb/leaf shaking. I was fearful that she would bolt higher up the tree, preventing rescue, but she hung tough.

I climbed slowly, not wanting to spook Puff. Belinda did masterful sweet talking from the ground, which Puff began answering with sad little cries. I offered some dry kitty treats when I was about 8 feet under Puff, but she was not interested. The closer I got to her, the more nervous she became, and she started looking up the trunk. This is a bad sign as it means the kitty is checking out means for escape. To make things worse, there were many small branches right around Puff, which I would have to break through to reach her, causing a ruckus that would surely scare her. When I was four feet below her, I decided to stand quickly and make a fast grab. I donned the Kat bag on my right hand and made ready. As I stood up on the rope, Puff backed away, and then turned to the trunk. She began climbing, but I was able to get both of my hands on her, pinning her to the trunk. She yowled and struggled, but I was able to maintain a good hold on her scruff as I dragged the bag over her. In the end, I won the struggle and Puff was safely in the bottom of the Kat bag. Back on the ground, Belinda and Allen thanked me over and over again, and Belinda brought Puff into the house for food and water. The picture below (by Belinda) shows Puff relaxing after her ordeal, seemingly no worse for wear! Steven (a neighbor) and Allen helped me pack the truck, and Pat (a neighbor) provided me with some treats and water for the road. Belinda, Allen, and Pat -- many thanks for your very generous donation to the Oktibbeha County Humane Society! As I was driving away, the predicted rain started to fall and I drove through monsoons on the way home. Whew, I was thankful that everything worked out!