How many cat up the tree stories have we seen and heard? There is the memorable one from the first Superman movie, where the little girl goes running into her mother to tell her Fluffy was rescued by a flying man in a cape. (To which the mother promptly replies, “Didn’t I tell you to stop lying!?”) Cats routinely scale up the side of trees either in pursuit of prey or just for play.
Well, this is one story that you can chalk up to the tallest of tree stories, and this one is actually true according to first responders in Ohio. The cat in question just also happens to be named Fluffy (what cat isn’t) but according to its owner it was perched at the top of a 40 foot tree for about three days. After the third day when Fluffy wouldn’t come down she decided it was time to all the fire department.
The rescue was the first performed by the department, since according to the local fire chief cats usually come down for food when they get hungry enough. This is the expected behavior. But apparently Fluffy was either too scared or too shook up by its towering peak to descend from its perch. The current theory is that a hawk had snagged Fluffy while it was wandering in the woods and lost hold of it during its ascent, dropping it at the top of the tree.
Talk about being up a tree both figuratively and literally.
The good news is the story ends well, with the fire department posting pictures of the rescue on Facebook. But it is not known what tales of kitty stress the cat can never tell for those three long days without food. You have to stop and think about all those birds flying by, thinking that instead of being the hunted they could now become the hunter. The old Tweety Bird cartoons also come to mind. Then there is the unfortunate future where Fluffy will have to explain to her feline friends just how it got itself into the mess to begin with.
Maybe she can use that old Superman story, except in reverse, left up there by an evil Batman.
For the record, hawks have been known to actually try and carry human infants away that are left unattended in open areas such as parks. In this case, Fluffy had on a regular collar and an ID collar, and they were both missing when she was finally rescued. Thus, the ongoing theory of being snatched up by a hawk makes sense. It is very unlikely she managed to create a situation where she was up a tree without a way back down. But the pictures show a more wooded area, so there is some question as to the hawk theory.
In a more serious tone, the question is whether these hawk swoopings have become more commonplace than ever before, or it’s just that Facebook and the Internet have brought them to our international attention. Many encounters with animals caught on camera have shown that for some reason, animals have lost their fear of humans, making them more likely to increase the size of their territory and acting more aggressively towards perceived prey in that territory. Whether it is hawks, eagles, or bears, there clearly is a bolder stance being taken by animals with their interactions with humans.
The idea of becoming one with nature has been around for some time, but this is one example where people need to realize that animals will be animals, and there is a growing amount of evidence that the physical boundaries between the two are shrinking. The future outcome of this trend has yet to be definitively established, but can it be any good for both sides? Maybe the growing world population has decreased the amount of available territory for animals to roam. Maybe global warming is causing unusual behaviors in wildlife.
While the story is heartwarming, and fun, there needs to be some thought given to what were once rare occurrences and ask if things are changing in a way that presents a danger to pets and humans alike. The last thing we want happening is to be caught up a tree with no way down.