Tredegar, Wales, became the scene of one of the most elaborate rescues that the world has seen. It involved a kitten named Cookie who became stuck in a tall tree and the townspeople, who looked on and tried to come up with a plan to retrieve the frightened feline. According to the Daily Mail, locals of the town did what they could to entice Cookie to come down, but all of their efforts were of no avail. The ordeal lasted for three days, and as word spread, the whole town became involved with the mission to rescue the cat.
The joint effort
A few residents spied Cookie in the tree on Saturday. They offered him treats to lure him down, but Cookie wasn’t taking them up on their offers. The RSPCA became involved with even the local fire brigade joined in the effort. They used cherry pickers to get closer to the cat, and AP Scaffolding even sent workers to erect a 4-story structure to give him a way out of the tree. The workers for the company left out food and water for Cookie, but he wasn’t moving. Finally, a tree surgeon who was involved in the rescue was the hero who bagged the kitten and safely brought him back down to the ground.
The community united
After Cookie’s rescue, social media lit up with the good news. Leanne Skinner was the resident who coordinated the rescue, and she shared the story on Facebook with updates. AP Scaffolding also reported the news of her return on their page, and the kitten is now back home with her family. The story serves to show you how much this community cares about one another, including their adorable fur babies. Thanks went out to the businesses and individuals who gave of their time and resources to make this rescue a complete and total success. The story retells a genuine and heartfelt act of kindness.
A common issue with cats
If you’re a cat owner, you know how much cats love to climb. Most of the time, they only go up so far, then descend back to the ground. One of the most common causes of cats becoming stuck high in a treetop is because they’ve either been chased by a dog or other predator, or frightened in some way. A cat’s instinct to get away from danger triggers the natural response of running. Sometimes it’s straight up a tree. The cat is not concerned with the height at the time. It’s when the danger passes that they realize how high up they are that the fear of movement makes them hesitant to try. Treed cats aren’t trying to be stubborn. They don’t want to fall. That is the main reason why it’s so difficult to coax them to come down.
Cat rescues can be complicated
According to Shaun Sears, Canopy Cat Rescue owner, he and his brother in law Tom Otto have provided hundreds of tree rescues since they established the nonprofit business back in 2009, according to NPR. The team has climbed as high as 175 to rescue a cat stuck in a tree. Such heights pose risks to the distressed cat as well as to the humans attempting the rescue. Sears and Otto have learned a lot about tree rescues through the years. They share their advice for anyone trying to get a cat out of a tree.
- Avoid setting out food. Available food sources could attract more predators who were the cause of the problem. It’s not a useful way to lure the cat out of the tree.
- There is a reason cats don’t come down from the tree. If a cat stays up in a tree, it could be from because of fear of the predator that chased him up there, or he’s up so high that he doesn’t have a safe path of descent. He may be frozen with fear, or legitimately not be able to work his way down without falling. It’s easier to go up than it is to come back down. It isn’t stubbornness that’s keeping him up there.
- Cats can survive a long time in a tree. Some of the cats rescued by Canopy staff have been there for as long as two weeks. If the cat becomes deprived of water, however, he can experience kidney failure.
- Assess the situation before you start. If your cat has become stuck in a tree 20 ft or lower, you could use a ladder to attempt to retrieve him. If not, you may want to call for an expert to get him down.
Fuzzy Rescue suggests that you take a few other steps. First, secure the area to ensure there are no threats such as dogs to frighten the cat. Try to calm him with your presence. You can also set up a ladder that is close to the spot your cat is stuck in. He may jump to the ladder to get down. Making a more secure pathway for your cat to exit the tree can help. If you can get close enough with a ladder to grab him, Fuzzy Rescue further recommends that you wear a long-sleeved shirt and take a bag with you to avoid getting scratched up by a frightened kitty. If none of these measures work, call a local pet rescue or an arborist to help you get him down from the tree.
Cookie’s story is heartwarming. It shows how much we care about our pets. Not all cat rescue stories get this kind of press, but it does open up a necessary conversation for cat owners. We need to know what to do if it happens to our cats. While you can usually find a way to get your cat down out of a tree on your own, there’s always the chance that you’ll get into an impossible situation. Know your limitations and when to call for the experts.