Event: Rescued a cat from a tree
Last week as I sat and pondered what adventures might be in store for me for the remainder of the year, one that didn't make the list was the following: "Rescue cat from Tree."
Thursday night I was out in the backyard with my dog when out of the darkness I heard a cat meowing. I thought it was a little odd since none of my neighbors have cats, but I dismissed it and carried on about my business. Friday night I opened the back door to let the dog out and once again I heard meowing. The fact that I heard it two nights in a row coming from the same spot led me to believe either the cat was injured or stuck. For the record, I'm a huge animal lover, but felines around the world know that if they come within 10 feet of me I'm a walking Benadryl commercial. I am deathly allergic. So imagine my internal struggle on this chilly Friday night - it's cold but I want to help, it's late but it might freeze to death, I'm deathly allergic but what if it dies on my watch...Dang it! I must go help because I believe in karma. Two weeks my 80-pound dog jumped out of the window of the backseat of my car while I was driving 35 mph down a busy street and was not hurt. Karma. Must save kitty.
I got a flashlight and pointed it in the direction of where the meowing was coming from hoping to find a cat just frolicking in the grass and not stuck in the jaws of a Mountain Lion. I found neither. Instead, I saw the glowing eyes of a full grown cat stuck in the nook of a tree a mere 20 feet off the ground. The tree of course, was just on the other side of my fence, so technically in my neighbor's yard. But, that didn't stop me. I took my flashlight, grabbed a 6-foot ladder and quietly walked into my neighbor's yard up to the tree. As I approached, the meowing got louder and my desire for a successful rescue grew more intense. I propped the ladder against the tree and started to climb. It was at that moment I found myself saying, "What the hell am I doing? What if someone thinks I'm a robber and shoots me? The headline would read, "Woman allergic to cats gets shot while trying to save cat." Do I really think this cat is going to miraculously leap into my arms? If it does, what if it scratches me and I get rabies? What if I fall off of the ladder, hit my head and pass out - would we both freeze to death? What if I get stuck in the tree?" So many things could go wrong as I stood on the third rung of the ladder only to realize I needed about 3 more ladders to even get close. That's when it hit me - I need milk!
I went back into the house and poured some milk into a bowl. I even heated it up a few seconds because I'm betting cats prefer warm milk (seriously?). When I reached the tree, warm milk in tow, I found myself telling the cat that there was milk at the base of the tree so it can come down now. (Please someone check me into a clinic). Surprisingly, that didn't work. That's when I went into full-on MacGyver mode. I've got it! I went back into my garage and grabbed a bucket and a rope. I am not making this up. I tied the bucket to one end of the rope and attempted to throw the bucket up over the branch (did I mention it was 20 feet high?) That was completely unsuccessful so I decided to throw the other end of the rope over the branch but the rope was too light so I tied a few sticks to the end of it. Four attempts and a smack in the face later I had one end of the rope over the branch. Whew. As I pulled the rope I raised the bucket to the branch near where the cat was sitting. Perfect! Now the cat will walk over to the bucket, hop in and I will lower it down to safety to the warm milk. Shockingly, this, too, was unsuccessful. OMG I'm going to the Looney Bin. Frustrated, frozen and fearing for my safety (dogs have started to bark throughout the neighborhood) I decided to call it quits. As I began to pack up my things, I attempted to get my rope/bucket/stick creation out of the tree, only to get it caught on a branch. Now the rope was hanging in mid air - with sticks attached to one end and a bucket attached to the other. Super. My neighbors are going to think I'm into witchcraft. I am certifiable.
Walking back towards the house, the cat meowed even louder, as if to say, "Don't leave me!" As my heart was breaking, I had one more idea. I decided to call a 24-hour Emergency Vet Clinic, who told me to call the fire department. I called my friends at the fire department and wouldn't you know it they don't rescue cats from trees! I mean really. What's the world coming to? What, is there an App for that? Sheesh. They told me to call Animal Control, which I did, and no one answered.
Saturday morning I woke to find my furry friend still nestled in the nook of the tree, barely moving. I quickly called Animal Control again, who said they'd be right out. When they arrived, I was saddened to learn they too, don't climb trees to rescue animals. WHAT? It was then I decided the fire department or Animal Control or both would surely rescue a PERSON stuck in a tree, so I was going up. But I needed a taller ladder. Four neighbors, three ladders, a can of cat food, a catch pole and an hour later we were celebrating a successful rescue. Our sweet little kitty was safe and sound, eating and purring and before we knew it, he trotted off, like he knew exactly which direction home was.
As I was putting things away in my garage I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. Low and behold, my furry friend had scurried into my garage, and was curled up looking dazed and confused. I went inside, got some milk (warmed it up of course) and sat on the ground while he drank, purred, drank some more and snuggled with me. It didn't take long before my allergies had me looking like I just lost a boxing match, but soon my little rescue project started walked out of the garage and made his way down the street. I followed him to the corner and watched as he walked up to a house and curled up on the front porch. Home Sweet Home.
And then he got attacked by a Mountain Lion.