SOS! Kitty’s In A Tree

Imagine your cherished cat in a tree and you on the ground looking up!


Who ya’ gonna call? The fire department? Not anymore.

Most fire departments no longer rescue cats. Understandably, they’re unwilling to commit their resources to pets in trees when human lives may be at stake elsewhere. Pet owners finding themselves in this predicament are advised instead to check the web for a listing of experienced cat rescuers, arborists or tree care companies in their area. This is one of the safest and most reliable options, and well worth the cost.

If however, none exists, is temporarily unavailable, or if you’d prefer trying to rescue your cat on your own, remember that she’s most likely frightened, apt to act out and resist all attempts to catch her, or worse still, climb even higher in the tree. And so, before you pull out your trusty ladder, it’s best to wear protective gear that includes such items as goggles, a helmet, thick gloves, and some form of padded clothing.


Climbing a ladder to get your kitty is, in itself, unsafe, and requires steadiness, balance and calm. If you’re fortunate enough to reach your fearful feline easily, some experts suggest grasping her firmly by the scruff of the neck to avoid her claws during your descent. As this may be difficult with thick gloves on, only the strongest and most experienced at using a ladder should attempt this form of rescue.

Rather than using you hands, some suggest using a laundry basket instead. Your cat may be willing to climb into the basket if it contains an article of her bedding, some catnip or her favorite treats. You can then carry her, slowly and, hopefully, safely down the ladder. But be warned: this will only work if you’re very strong and your kitty is fairly lightweight.

An alternative is to tie a rope securely between the handles of the laundry basket and toss the end of the rope over the branch your cat’s on. Nearly impossible to accomplish when the branch in question is high, if it’s a low one, once you’ve established this makeshift pulley system, hoist the basket filled with her “goodies” up to the branch. Paws crossed that she climbs into it, after which you can safely lower it and her to the ground.


Another suggestion is smearing the bark with strong, scented foods to lure kitty out of the tree. You can also sprinkle dry cat or dog food on the ground or — as unappealing as it sounds and as unattractive as it looks — her own soiled litter, whose familiar smell may coax her back down to earth. While these suggestions are safer than attempting to retrieve her yourself, their disadvantage lies in attracting unwanted feline attention from neighboring properties!

While difficult for some anxious cat owners to accept, felines, adept as they are at climbing, are apt to come down on their own when they’re either hungry enough or tired of their “adventure.” When you consider the dangers involved in rescuing a treed kitty yourself, exercising patience is a reasonable option before attempting more drastic measures.

Nomi Berger

Nomi Berger

Nomi Berger is the bestselling author of seven novels, one work of non-fiction, two volumes of poetry, and hundreds of articles. She is a volunteer writer for Furry Friends in Vancouver, WA and also volunteers her writing skills to animal rescue groups in Canada and the USA. For more information about Furry Friends visit or contact them at or (360) 993-1097

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