Yeah, cat rescues don't exactly belong under the umbrella of this blog, but since it is yet another chore that Scott and I figured out how to DIY this weekend, I figured I'd share our method with you. Plus...it was a budget-friendly rescue, so I guess it kind of does fit here.
Our kitty, Anna, likes to go out hunting in the evenings. But on Saturday night she didn't come back. We expected the worst, and with good reason. In our neighborhood, just about everyone who has a cat has lost a cat. Bobcats, coyotes, foxes, and bears abound.
Somehow Anna managed to escape whatever must have been chasing her (in all her eleven years, she has never been a tree-climber).
But when she escaped, she got stuck. Stuck about 35 feet up in our neighbor's Cottonwood tree.
Here is how we got her down.
|This belongs on a "good to know" Pinterest board, don't you think?|
First we leaned our 22 foot extension ladder up against the tree. This, in itself, was not easy. It kept getting stuck in branches and was awkward to maneuver, to say the least. When Scott climbed to the top of the ladder, he was still nowhere near Anna.
So we did what any tax-paying American would do and we visited the fire department. Actually, I tried to call but I couldn't find a phone number for the one near our house and 911 seemed like overkill for this. The firemen I talked to were (predictably) not super eager to help. They were very friendly and they smiled (and only one was snarky, which is kind of amazing considering how stupid we probably seemed) and they took our names and phone number and said they'd call the ladder company and IF the ladder company wasn't busy MAYBE they'd come out.
That's pretty much what we expected, but figured it was worth a try.
Then we talked about contacting one of the emergency cat rescue people we found via Google. You know, tree trimmers who also make emergency cat calls? Wait, not cat calls. Cat-rescue calls?
But we're cheap and couldn't find prices anywhere and, to be honest, we've already spent enough on Anna over the past few months (teeth cleaning, teeth removal, bone biopsy...ugh). So, if there was any way we could DIY this rescue, we figured we'd give it a shot.
Or, at least Scott did.
He told me, "Don't watch what I'm about to do because you'll tell me it's a bad idea." And he might have been right. I probably would have. And I would have been so very wrong.
Here is Scott's $FREE$ miracle Kitty Elevator.
Yep, a large and very sturdy cardboard box screwed to the end of a long 2x4.
To make it super stable (and it was surprisingly stable), he put a piece of plywood inside the box and then drove two 2 1/2" deck screws through the plywood and into the end of the 2x4. Then, Callie (pictured above) put one of the kitty's favorite blankets inside the box, along with a can of food (per the firefighters' recommendation...we'd left it at the bottom of the tree for a while like they said to, but there was no way she was getting down on her own).
Then Scott climbed back up the ladder with the kitty elevator in hand. Now, every tree is different. Every cat is different. Every situation is different. This might not work for you. In fact, it might be insane to even think about it. For our tree and our kitty and our situation, it ended up being a perfect solution.
Once he got to the top of the ladder, Scott raised the kitty elevator up to the kitty. She was definitely willing to climb in (the sound of her meow even changed as soon as the box came near her) but the box was positioned awkwardly and Scott couldn't hold it steady. So he swung it around the tree trunk in order to lean it against another branch. Anna turned herself around and hopped in almost immediately.
|Pulling her out of the box.|
I don't think this would work for everyone but we had a few things going for us. First, Anna loves cardboard boxes. I suppose this is true of many cats, so maybe other cats would be happy to hop from a branch into a inexplicably floating cardboard box in the top of a tree. Second, there was some super tasty canned food in that box. Anna usually eats in the middle of the night and gets hungry again around 7:30 every morning. By the time we rescued her, it was about 9:45AM. She was well past her normal breakfast time. Being the semi-spoiled cat that she is, she really needs to be fed on time, lest her blood sugar fall into an abnormal range.
I'm kidding. Kind of.
The third thing that we had going for us was that Anna trusts us. She is not skittish. She doesn't run from us when we try to pick her up. She's not brilliant (obviously) but she's not stupid either. She was very unhappy in the tree. (You know the chorus of meows you hear when you drive a cat to the vet? That's what she was doing up in the tree.) I'm not sure that we would have had the same results if a stranger had tried to rescue her. Maybe...but she really likes us best.
Lastly, it really helped that Scott has significant upper body strength. He takes really good care of himself and he's strong. I could not have lowered Anna from the tree. I probably couldn't have climbed the ladder carrying the 2x4, actually. It takes strong core muscles to get up and strong shoulders to hold the elevator over your head and then insane balance and coordination to climb down while holding the elevator. For us, everything seemed to be in our favor, but this last one was probably the most important. Your elevator's gotta have a good engine.
So there you go. Tuck this little tutorial away for the next time you need to rescue a cat. I hope your results will be as good as ours were!