she’s up the tree

lea luka

We have two cats. They’re sisters with very different personalities. Luka (black & white) is the cleverer one but she’s kinda lazy, definitely greedy and has the longest whiskers and loudest purr ever. Lea (tabby) is the little scaredy cat, she’s very cute and very sweet but unfortunately also very curious.

Neither of them go outside because for as long as we’ve had them we’ve always had train tracks at the bottom of the garden (eventhough we moved) and I’m terrified of them getting run over. The master plan is to move somewhere where they (and me) can happily be free-range kitties. But in the meantime they make do with starring out the window. The windows have been wide open since spring and Lea often either sits on the actual window pane or stands on the windows that open horizontally, but she always comes back in. Well, not last Thursday…

She must have gone out just before I closed all the windows to go to bed because the next morning we found her 40 feet up a sycamore tree instead of at the bottom of the bed.

So what do you do when you’re cat is stuck up a tree?

We had no idea.

  • We joked about calling the fire department but a quick look on their website showed that any extra ‘humanitarian’ services cost £284 + vat. Maybe a last resort then.
  • We rang the vet as soon as they opened to see if they had any ideas and they said that some painters and decorators will get cats down. But we don’t know any painters and decorators, so phoning throught the yellow pages was perhaps going to be the option before the fire department. Although who knew which would be cheaper?
  • We had a look at the RSPCA website. They strongly suggest trying to get the cat to come down on its own as any attempts to get it down may just send it up further or out onto more dangerous branches. They do say that if the cat hasn’t come down in 48 hours that they should be called for advice.

Well our cat had only been up there anywhere from 1 to 7 hours. So we decided to follow the RSPCA’s advice and at least give her until the evening before we called anyone. So Jeff had to go to work and I had a deadline which I couldn’t really break because my cat was stuck up a tree. So I sat in the kitchen with the windows wide open talking to Lea really loudly (much to the amusement of our upstairs neighbour I’m sure) and every 15 minutes or so I went out and rattled treats and wafted tuna up the tree at her, but apart from turning around a bit and crying very pathetically, she didn’t move. I ended up sitting under the tree talking to her but she was still too scared to try to come down.

When Jeff got home he stood on top of the fence looking up the tree talking to her for about an hour but she still didn’t try. Then he had an idea! He set himself up in all his climbing gear and went halfway up the tree. She tried coming down a little bit, but slipped and went back up. So Jeff came down and we went inside to get a drink and it must have been at that point that she realised noone was coming up to get her because when we went back out a couple of minutes later she was starting to find her way down. Jeff went back up the tree to help her but once she started coming down she did it pretty damn quickly and she shouted all the way down. But despite the fact that she’d been up there about 18hrs and hadn’t slept or eaten (she had pee-ed almost on my head) she was absolutely fine. And I’m pretty sure she’d do it again if she had the chance.

So what we learned to do if your cat gets stuck up a tree:

  • Give them a chance to come down on their own, depending on the weather, but if they’re up there for more than 48 hours they will start getting dehydrated so you’ll need to get them down. But be careful because they might get frightened and go further up or out on more dangerous branches.
  • Rattling treats didn’t work for us although apparently it does work for many cats. But Lea doesn’t eat a whole lot, she’s more attached to us than she is to food so I think us going in the house was actually what seemed to do it. Wait for me!
  • If you can climb the tree safely, it helps just to go up a bit so the cat can see you. But be careful – I didn’t try it, I left it to the climbing expert!

Who can help?

  • RSPCA or another animal protection agency
  • The fire department
  • Painters and decorators – or anyone with a tall ladder – tree surgeons & landscapers

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