In late June, a shorthair tabby named Tiger managed to get stuck in a tree in Smithtown, NY. Generally speaking, cats will get out of trees on their own when they become hungry enough and thirsty enough. However, as more and more time passed, it became clearer and clearer that Tiger couldn’t get out of the tree on his own, which is why the local called in the authorities for assistance. Initially, the rescuers tried to reach the cat using a ladder as well as a bucket truck, both of which failed. As a result, a tree climber named Omar had to scale the tree with nothing but a helmet and a harness, thus enabling him to carry Tiger one-handed to safety. The cat has since been reunited with his family, who became aware of the whole situation when it blew up on social media. Fortunately, the authorities had a clear idea of what had to be done, not least because of their institutional experience with great horned owlets fallen out of their nests as well as similar scenarios.
Why Do Cats Get Stuck in Trees?
Some people might be curious about how cats manage to get themselves stuck in trees. After all, cats are excellent climbers, which is how they manage to get themselves into such situations in the first place. As a result, it seems reasonable to speculate that cats should have no more problems getting down than they did getting up. Unfortunately, that isn’t how it works. Apparently, a cat has a set of tools that make them very good at climbing up trees as well as other elements in their surroundings. However, that same set of tools is much less useful when it comes to helping them climb down. In fact, chances are good that cat owners have seen their cats climb up surfaces on numerous occasions but have either never seen or almost never seen their cats climb down surfaces. Instead, when cats want to get off of something, they tend to do so by just jumping off.
It is interesting to note that cats are capable of surviving jumps from even a great height. This makes sense because climbing is such a useful component of their skill-set, meaning that they have evolved instincts that help them cope when they make a mistake while moving about in high-up places. However, there are a number of important barriers to cats just jumping off whenever they get stuck in a tree. One, they need time to splay out their legs so that they can maximize the surface area of their body, thus increasing their drag resistance. Otherwise, they need to land on their legs, which might have great shock-absorbing capabilities but are nonetheless limited when it comes to how much they can help. Two, even though cats can survive jumps from a great height, that doesn’t mean that such a course of action will be consequence-free. Unsurprisingly, cats aren’t very enthusiastic about the idea of seriously hurting themselves, particularly since they are a species with a very keen awareness of the fact that there are other animals out there that predate upon them. Three, pet cats living in either urban or suburban areas tend to be in less than peak condition, which is definitely something that can make them less capable of pulling off as perfect a landing as possible under the circumstances. Four, just because a cat can do something, it doesn’t mean that they have the mind-set needed to do so. Suffice to say that cats can get scared in the same way that humans can, with the result that they can get stuck in places that they possess the theoretical ability to get away from.
Under those circumstances, one would imagine that cats would limit themselves when it comes to climbing up so that they won’t get stuck. Unfortunately, there are various potential scenarios that can cause that to happen anyways. For example, a lack of experience can cause a cat to climb somewhere from which they can’t get away with ease. Similarly, it is possible for a cat to scramble up a tree without consideration for whether they will be able to get down or not in the future because they are much more concerned by some kind of perceived threat in the meantime. On top of this, it is worth mentioning that declawed cats struggle with a very wide range of physical activities. This isn’t enough to prevent some of them from climbing up trees, but this is enough to make it either impossible or next-to-impossible for them to get down from there.
What Should You Do If Your Cat Gets Stuck in a Tree?
Cat owners have a number of options when their cat has climbed up a tree but is refusing to come down. For starters, it might be possible to get the cat to come down on their own, which will require interested individuals to remain calm while removing any potential sources of anxiety in the nearby area. After all, they want to put their cat in a state of mind in which they will be receptive to leaving the safety of their high-up perch, meaning that they can’t afford to cause the cat to become stressed out. Something that is particularly true because cats can get spooked enough to climb even higher. Often-times, this approach works better when the cat is hungry, so if interested individuals need to resort to appealing to their cat’s stomach, they might want to prepare something with a strong smell such as tuna. Moving on, cat owners can provide assistance as well. It is very common for interested individuals to provide ladders, mattresses, and other items that can help cats visualize a potential path downwards before following it with minimal risk. However, it is possible that cat owners will need to take an even more proactive approach. If that is the case, they should never seek to rescue their cat on their own but instead have people looking out for them at the bare minimum. Moreover, if they don’t have any climbing experience, they should definitely calling in the professionals for the best chances of the best outcome.