Cat Stuck In A Tree.

A Cat Stuck In A Tree: How to get it down safely.

It happens. A cat spies a creature of nature, perhaps a squirrel. To the cat this means only one thing, prey!

As the cat is a natural hunter, and a good one, the prey must be pursued.

Even though the cat is well fed at home, natural instincts kick in and the chase is on.

cat in treeA cat may climb up a tree with ease, but not find it so easy to climb down.
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The squirrel's survival instincts tell it to flee. A tree is a squirrel's home territory and it will run straight up one to escape the cat.

The hunter pursues the prey, higher and higher they go and from branch to branch.

Eventually though, the squirrel usually escapes the feline hunter. This sometimes leaves the cat stuck in a tree with no reason to be there.

At other times it is the cat that is being pursued, perhaps by a large dog. The cat does just what its wildcat ancestors did, it climbs up a tree to escape the predator.

The dog, not being a good climber, cannot pursue the cat. So it stays on the ground barking. The barking spooks the cat even more so it climbs higher.

All the time that the dog is around, that cat is going to stay out of reach up the tree.

Sometimes, even after the dog is long gone, the cat remains up there. Just like the cat that chased the squirrel, it can't or won't come down.

Why Is The Cat Stuck In A Tree?

Not every cat that climbs up a tree gets stuck up there of course. A lot depends on the tree and on the cat.

Some cats are up and down trees all day long with no difficulty. Other cats, perhaps those that are mainly indoor cats, may not have encountered scrambling up a tree before.

There are trees and there are trees, tall ones and not so tall ones.

Some have long spreading branches low down and the cat may be able to leap from branch to branch to work its way to the ground.

Other trees may not have branches lower down the trunk and present quite a challenge.

Cat's use their claws to help them climb, that is climb upwards.

A Cat's Claws are designed in such a way as to help them on the way up. The curve of the claws is of no use in climbing down.

A cat cannot climb down head first, it has to come down the trunk rear end first and cats find that awkward. That's one reason for the cat stuck in a tree problem.

Additionally, although the cat got up there without fear it was in hot pursuit, with its mind only on the task of catching the prey.

With the prey having escaped, the cat may become disorientated and wonder why it is up so high. It could also be more than a little scared to even attempt to come down.

Cat in Tree
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Cat Stuck In A Tree – How To Get It Down Safely.

It may be your cat, a neighbor's cat or a strange cat. If it is your pet you can try soothingly calling his or her name, but it is best to stay calm and do not shout.

Shouting at a cat stuck in a tree to come down may have completely the opposite effect. The cat may think that all the fuss is because he or she is in trouble, it may cause the cat to be more determined to stay put.

Worse it could cause the cat to go further up the tree or outward along a thin branch.

If your neighbors and friends join in trying to persuade the cat to come down, how would that seem to the animal? A whole gaggle of humans all excitedly shouting, not much of an incentive to climb down.

Chased By A Dog

If the cat was chased up the tree by a dog, then there is no way the cat will be coaxed down if the dog is still around.

The first thing you have to do is get the dog out of the way, right out of the way. If the dog is barking then get the dog out of earshot of the cat as well as out of sight.

When we say we have a cat stuck in a tree, what we usually mean is the poor cat is up a tree and will not come down.

Sometimes though, cats actually do get stuck. It is possible for the feline to be wedged between branches or if the cat is wearing a collar, it could be caught on a branch. (This is one reason why Sometimes though, cats actually do get stuck. It is possible for the feline to be wedged between branches or if the cat is wearing a collar, it could be caught on a branch. (This is one reason why break away cat collars are such a good idea.)

In this case obviously somebody is going to have to climb the tree, carefully free the cat and bring it down.

cat stuck in a tree
Cat stuck in a tree. If the cat was chased up the tree by a dog, then there is no way the cat will be coaxed down if the dog is still around.

If gently calling to your cat does not work after about ten minutes, walk away and give her time on her own.

She might come to realize that there is a way out of the tree.

You can try giving your cat an alternative way down, other than scrambling down the trunk of the tree.

If you have a suitable ladder, try leaning it against the tree in a position that kitty can reach it. There is a chance that she will use the ladder to walk down until she is low enough to jump.

You will have to put the ladder in position as quietly as possible and without spooking your cat, otherwise she will not go near it. Just put the ladder in place, walk away and leave your cat to get the idea.

Give her a little time to decide if she wants to attempt it or not.

Hunger Might Bring Her Down Out Of The Tree

It is often said that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Might not a similar phrase apply to felines? Often the way to motivate them is through food.

Many a cat has been persuaded to make their way down out of a tree through the prospect of something tasty to eat.

If your cat has been up the tree for some time, she may not only be scared and frustrated, but might be starting to get a little hungry.

A little of what she likes to eat left in her food bowl on the ground, especially something smelly like fish, could do the trick. Again, it is best not to hang around, just leave her food and wait awhile to see if it achieves the desired result.

Do not wait more than two days maximum before deciding your cat has to be brought down from the tree.

Around this time a cat will start to suffer the effects of lack of food and Dehydration from lack of water. She will be growing weaker and unlikely to be able to hold on for much longer.

Do not wait this long if it is a young kitten stuck up a tree. Kittens need food more frequently than adult cats, get tired more easily and there is the possibility of them being blown from the tree in a gust of wind.

If bad weather conditions are forecast act immediately to get your cat safely down.

Don't go thinking that a cat cannot be hurt by falling out of a tree, they can be very badly injured or worse.

It is a Myth that a Cat Always Lands on it's Feet. They very often do, but not always, a lot depends on the height they fall from.

Cats have the ability to twist their bodies around when falling, so that they land feet first. They do this instinctively. If the tree is not tall enough then there would not be time for the cat to twist around completely.

Even if the cat is able to land feet first, it does not mean they will not suffer injury. There are many stories about cats falling great heights, getting up and running off without injury. Yes that may sometimes happen, but by no means always.

Who Is Going To Rescue Your Cat Stuck In A Tree?

Should you decide to use a ladder to try and get your high roosting feline down, only do so with your own safety in mind. If you are not confident about climbing ladders then do not attempt to do so.

If the ground is soft or uneven, as it is likely to be near a tree, then place a large, strong board under the ladder's feet to help level it.

Have someone hold the bottom of the ladder steady. Make sure the ladder is long enough to do the job and never climb past the top three rungs.

Don't overreach to grab a cat stuck in a tree, you'll almost certainly fall off if you do.

Thick clothing and gloves are recommended. Your cat may want to come down from the tree, but may be scared and may not be too pleased about being forcibly removed.

Alright, you know that your cat has to be brought down but you think it best that you do not try to tackle the job yourself.

Your first thought may be to call the fire department.

Unfortunately, most fire departments will not send out a crew to rescue a cat from a tree, like perhaps they once did.

The reasons being that if a crew have to drop a cat rescue to rush off to a fire, it would mean a longer response time perhaps jeopardizing human lives.

Also, there is the possibility a firefighter could be injured by falling from the tree or get badly scratched up by an angry cat An injured firefighter needing time off would also jeopardize human life.

cat up a tree
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So who will rescue a cat stuck in a tree?

Tree surgeons, arborists, tree pruners etc. all have the necessary professional equipment and tree climbing experience to get the cat down from the tree safely.

A phone call to your veterinarian, animal control, or local rescue shelter will get you a good recommendation.

Naturally you will be charged a fee, this will often be reasonable but will depend on the location, height and condition of the tree, the time of day or night and the weather conditions.

After all that, hopefully your cat hasn't fallen and is down from the tree safely.

Take your cat inside immediately. Be careful how you handle her, she is likely to be traumatized by what happened to her, she will almost certainly be hungry and thirsty. It is best if she stays inside at least for a while.

Perhaps another good reason to take your cat inside straight away are all those stories. These stories are about a cat stuck in a tree who gets rescued in a big dramatic operation.

The cat is brought down, made a fuss of, placed on the ground and immediately runs back up the tree! Well, possibly most of these stories are just . . . stories, but you never know.

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