Preparing For My Career As A Firefighter Rescuing Kittens In Trees

So I am an animal rescue hero today. Well, “Hero” might be a bit strong. Maybe “super totally awesome cat rescuer” is more accurate. Perhaps “fool”.

Noticed on Facebook and an ex-coworker had posted the question of:

How do you get a kitten down from a 35′ tree? 🙁

The kitten in question is one of the 4 that I fostered from 3-7 weeks old, who had been graciously taken in by Shaun and was a great little kitten, so I wanted to help.


Of course being a veteran cat-owner I immediately suggested (as my father has in the past with his great knowledge of cats) that if cats can’t get out of trees there’d be tons of cat skeletons in trees, and why not just leave the cat there and he’ll come down in a bit when he gets tired of being ignored. Then it turns out that the cat’s actually been in the tree for over 24 hours, so that’s when I leapt into action, and headed over after work.

The kitten was indeed up the (40+ foot) tree, mewing a lot, with a gaggle of kids at the bottom of the tree trying to see him and figure out what to do. Talked to Shaun a bit and because of the shape of the tree (big and bushy) it would be hard to put a ladder nearby (which would be too short to reach the kitten even if you could get it in close to the trunk).

Then after some looking, again, think “Hero” here, leapt into action, and climbed the tree.

It was actually a really easy climb, all things considered. Big branches, not too dense. Took me about 30 feet before I actually could even see the kitten (“Shadow” BTW) as he had gotten himself up in quite a spot. I can’t say that he couldn’t have made it down on his own, but I can see that for a non-tree-experienced little kitten that the spot she got in was a pretty tight one.

It was funny that when I got close enough to see the cat (maybe 10 feet) he started yowling harder (as in “get me out of here stupid monkey“) and purring loudly. Finally reached him, grabbed the little shit by the scruff of the neck and threw him over my shoulder and started down.

Now for a kitten I can understand that being on a moving shoulder with no control over your destiny being probably worse than being on a nice stable tree (albeit stuck), so he kept on trying to walk off my shoulder and onto the tree branches. I’d have to hold on, grab him, throw him back over the shoulder and go down some more, until we finally reached the bottom and the throng of children clapped and cheered (see, HERO). Shadow seemed quite happy to be back on solid ground (though when he did get free he went back to the base of the tree into a little’un grabbed him… stupid cat). Shaun then took him into the house and popped a full tin of tuna in front of him which he proceeded to eat until I left a little while later (I can’t imagine not eating for 24 hours, much less 4 hours…).

In short, kittens are cute and climbing trees is still fun even at 36.

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