How to Rescue a Cat from a Tree

Now this is a pickle, isn’t it? Searching for this information means your feline friend or just a stray cat needs help. It’s been stuck in a tree for a while, out of your reach, and she’s refusing to come down. You probably already tried calling, she might have tried climbing down a bit, just to bounce back up among the higher branches.

The first thing you need to do is calm down. Cats can climb trees, and yes, their claws are made for it. Getting down by herself is a different story, as the same claws that helped her up are not built for coming down.

Cats are adaptable creatures though, and, in most cases, cats will climb down trees by themselves if no threat is near. They might simply want to explore or chill in the sun, enjoying the breeze. Give the cat space and time.

However, if more than 24 hours pass or if weather conditions are not favorable, you need to help the cat get down from the tree as soon as possible. So, here are a few tips to help you achieve this successfully.

Rescue cat from tree

Make Sure the Surrounding Area is Safe

Even though cats might climb trees when they’re exercising their hunting abilities, the most common cause of their climb is something scary. From dogs to other cats, loud engine noise or children chasing her. Try to identify the cause and eliminate it, so the cat senses no more threat.

Bribe the Cat with Food

Whether it’s your cat or not, she will likely get down when she smells something tasty. Get the cat her favorite food or choose something with a strong smell, like canned fish or bacon.

Get the Litter Box

If the cat doesn’t react to food bribery (maybe she is not hungry) and it is your cat, sensing the smell of her litter box might determine her to get down. Cats are highly territorial, and there is nothing that speaks more about this than her potty.

Supervise the Cat

Sometimes, your presence near the tree might still make the cat fearful, even if she belongs to you. Don’t go away, but keep a safe distance, so that she feels comfortable enough to get down on her own.

The Old Laser Point Trick

No matter how old, cats will definitely be drawn to that small red dot. It can get any cat excited—even if that cat is stuck in a tree. If you have a laser, it’s perfect. Try to get the cat to see it (it might be challenging in full daylight) and then attract her slowly towards the tree’s trunk and down from it.

Bring a Ladder

Even cats with amazing climbing skill can sometimes get stuck in a tree if it’s a really straight one. Bringing a ladder or a plank and laying it against the tree at an angle can help the cat feel more confident and she could get down on her own.

Help the Cat Down Yourself

If none of the above works, you might need to climb the tree and get the cat down yourself. Make sure you don’t do this by yourself. Use a ladder to reach a safe position in the tree and do not assume the cat will be gentle. She is scared. Remember that.

If you try to handle her, take precautions. Use long-sleeve shirts and even gloves. Position yourself so that you can grab the cat by its scruff. This method is how kittens are carried out by their mothers and the safest position in which the cat will not be able to scratch you.

Placing the cat in a secure bag or even her carrier and then lowering her to safety is the best thing you can do. It will prevent the cat from fighting her way back up the tree.

If none of the above work, one piece of advice we can give is not to call the fire department. Yes, Hollywood movies can be charming, but they are far from reality. You have a better chance of receiving help from local animal rescues or even arborists, but saving a cat from a tree is not the fire department’s responsibility.

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