Recently, a tree trimmer named Erick Baker was called to Richmond Park in Grand Rapids, MI. However, he wasn’t there to trim some branches. Instead, Baker had been brought in to rescue a cat that had become stranded almost 50 feet off of the ground. Fortunately, his expertise, experience, and equipment enabled him to rescue the cat with no issues whatsoever, with the result that it is now in safe hands. Apparently, this wasn’t the first time that Baker had been called to perform such rescues, which explains much about the efficiency with which everything was carried out.
How Do Cats Get Stranded in Trees Anyways?
Cats are very well-suited for an arboreal existence. As a result, it can seem strange for them to get stuck in trees. However, that is something that can happen for a wide range of reasons. Sometimes, cats climb into trees when they are calm and controlled. Other times, not so much. For example, one cat might climb high into a tree for the purpose of escaping its pursuers. Similarly, another cat might climb high into a tree for the purpose of pursuing something that has managed to catch its eye. Thanks to this, it is very much possible for cats to get stuck in trees without meaning to.
Unfortunately, while cats have the right builds for climbing up, they are nowhere near as good at climbing down. It is something that cats can do to some extent. However, it isn’t something that they have been optimized for. Moreover, climbing down isn’t something that most of them engage in on a regular basis, meaning that they just tend not to have a lot of applicable experience. Instead, it is much more common for cats to jump off when they are situated high-up but want to get off.
Of course, that brings its own complications. Cats are famous for always landing on their feet. However, said statement is much exaggerated. Cats are very well-suited for an arboreal existence, which is why they are quite good at surviving falls from a great height. For example, they are capable of orienting themselves to fall in the right manner while they are in mid-air. Similarly, they actually have not one but two strategies for surviving a fall. One would be the famous “landing on their legs,” which works surprisingly well because cats have long, powerful legs that serve as excellent shock absorbers. The other would be when cats choose to spread out their legs so that they can maximize their area, thus enabling them to slow down through air resistance as much as possible before eventually landing on their torso rather than their legs. This landing strategy is used when cats fall from such a great height that they can’t afford to land on their legs at all.
Regardless, the issue is that even the more extreme of these two strategies has its limits. There are animals that are so small that they can survive falls from even the greatest heights with no issues whatsoever. However, cats are heavy enough that this isn’t possible for them. As such, it is possible for cats to either be hurt or even worse when they fall a sufficient distance. Something that is particularly true if they are lacking either the experience needed to choose the right course of action or the conditioning needed to implement the right course of action. Both of which are very common in pet cats that spend most of their time indoors rather than outdoors. For that matter, cats are very much capable of feeling fear. Thanks to that, it is possible for them to get stuck in trees because they are afraid of getting hurt by jumping for very good reasons.
What Should You Do If You Spot a Stranded Cat?
In any case, if interested individuals see a cat stuck in a tree, there are a number of things that can be done about the problem. For starters, interested individuals should try seeing if they can coax the cat into getting out of the tree under their own power. Generally speaking, this involves two things, with one being making the cat feel relaxed and the other being providing the cat with some kind of food on the ground to serve as encouragement. The first is important because cats aren’t going to abandon a secure position if they are feeling threatened. If anything, they might climb even higher, which would be worsening the problem. Meanwhile, the other can be useful for convincing the cat to get down if they are already on the edge because every bit of encouragement helps. Besides this, it might be helpful to set out some kind of sheet or even an old mattress to make a focal point for the cat to jump on to.
Moving on, it might be possible for interested individuals to help the cat realize a path to safety if they have gotten stuck. For example, a laser pointer can be used to point out important points on this hypothetical path. Similarly, something like a ladder can even be used to create a path in some cases. Theoretically, it is possible for interested individuals to try to rescue a cat on their own. However, that tends to be a bad idea unless they have the expertise, the experience, and the equipment. After all, humans are much worse than cats at surviving falls from a great height, meaning that it is something that people should avoid as much as possible. On top of that, even when interested individuals are actually good at climbing up great heights and then climbing down great heights, they might not be used to handling an agitated cat while doing so. Something that can definitely complicate matters. If interested individuals insist on doing this on their own, they should make sure to wear gloves and long sleeves to protect themselves from bites and scratches. In fact, if it is an option, they should try seeing if they can get the cat into a carrier before lowering the carrier to the ground rather than actually try to bring the cat with them while they climb down.
Ultimately, interested individuals might have to call for professional assistance. Firefighters are not the correct choice to call because they focus on fire-fighting. Instead, they should consider calling their local animal control. Alternatively, interested individuals might want to contact either a veterinarian or an animal welfare organization, which probably won’t be able to handle things but can at least point them in the right direction. Amusingly enough, tree trimming companies are actually a relatively common source of assistance for such matters because tree trimmers are good at scaling heights.