December 11, 2023

For three days, candy Sarah was caught excessive in a fir tree in Southwest Washington, meowing for assist. Sarah’s proprietor thought she would climb down, however the terrified Tortie stored climbing larger.

Sarah’s cries turned to purrs when mountain climber and arborist-turned-cat-extracting-superhero Shaun Sears of Canopy Cat Rescue arrived to deliver her down.

Sears and his brother-in-law, Tom Otto, started rescuing cats in bushes over a decade in the past after they operated a small tree service and bought the occasional name a few caught cat.

“When we first began doing cats in bushes it might be as much as three a month,” says Sears.

Fast ahead to 2021, and Sears and Otto journey throughout Washington state, 24 hours a day, to assist retrieve cats from bushes.

The duo are on their option to 700 rescues for the 12 months. And in keeping with Sears’ estimates, “we’ve rescued over 5,000 cats since we began.”

Ready to Serve

Sears and Otto now each work full time for his or her nonprofit, and rescue cats day or night time.

“Sometimes of us discover their lacking cat at night time with a flashlight and we don’t need (the cat) to spend one other night time in a chilly, moist tree,” says Sears.

Being cat lovers, Sears and Otto have cats of their very own. Sears has Medi, a 10-year-old fluffy orange cat, and Otto has Bean and Bug, 18-month-old black cats.

“What evokes us is we actually love cats and we get pleasure from serving to folks and cats by reuniting them with their family members,” says Sears. “When we hear the panic and desperation within the cat proprietor’s voice we all know that we have to assist. We each have the professional talent set to assist these cats when they’re so excessive in bushes.”

No Kitty Left Behind

When Sears and Otto began out, the common cost for a rescue was $75. This all modified in 2012 with a rescue Sears calls a “lightbulb” second.

“I may inform the $75 payment can be a hardship for the household. I may really feel the stress that was going to create,” he says. “On the drive house, I bought actually emotional. I referred to as [the family] and mentioned I wasn’t going to money the test.”

That day Sears and Otto determined they’d function on donations.

“We adopted our mission assertion: All cats deserve the prospect to be rescued, whatever the proprietor’s capacity to pay,” says Sears. “That’s been certainly one of our successes. We’ve been a platform and voices for cats in bushes, but in addition for these households. We don’t wish to earn money off of individuals’s misfortune.”

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How Rescuing a Cat Stuck in a Tree Works

When CCR will get a name a few caught cat, the method begins with a number of questions. Sears and Otto will ask issues like, how excessive is the cat within the tree? Is it your cat? Is the cat spayed or neutered? (Unaltered cats will be particularly cranky.) Is it in your yard? How lengthy has the cat been caught? What’s the cat’s identify?

The group additionally asks how kitty reacts when strangers come over to the home, does he are inclined to run and conceal or does he come out and say hey?

“The reply to that query dictates how we go in regards to the rescue once we get on web site,” Sears says.

If it’s a skittish cat, they put together for him to be immune to dealing with and presumably going larger within the tree, out on a limb and even leaping.

If it looks as if kitty is a excessive soar threat, they’ll discover out what’s beneath the tree, comparable to a fence, rocks, or concrete, and put together the realm for a protected touchdown.

“Sometimes we’ll rig up tarps beneath to cushion the cat if a soar is probably going,” says Sears. “We may even deliver a internet connected to a protracted pole.”

If kitty is pleasant, they don’t fear about a number of additional precautions as a result of the cat is normally blissful to get some assist.

Sears and Otto use mountain climbing gear to make their manner as much as the cat, all of the whereas speaking to the cat and assessing his physique language and meows.

“Usually if a cat has a excessive pitch ‘assist me’ meow, it’s blissful to see us, however a low, growly meow may be very regarding,” says Sears. “The timid cats we’ll actually take our time getting near and be very cautious about our actions within the tree.”

Once close to the cat they’ll attain out and let the cat odor their hand after which they’ll decide the cat up as one usually would.

“Put your hand beneath their stomach and assist their physique weight, then snuggle,” says Sears.

That snuggle is as a result of the cat must be comforted.

“He simply had a really traumatic expertise, he simply escaped demise,” says Sears.

“One favourite second is once we get to have that one-on-one second the place this cat is so grateful,” says Sears.

Cats get what Sears calls “blissful shivers.”

“Once you decide him up his motor begins to go and he begins shaking as a result of he’s heating up…he’s feeling that love,” he says.

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They then clasp kitty’s entrance paws and gently put him right into a particular rescue sack or internet for the journey all the way down to his relieved household.

Getting Kitty Home

The majority of rescues are house owners calling about their cats however in 20-25 p.c of the instances the proprietor is unknown.

Sears and Otto carry a microchip scanner to allow them to test for a chip. If that doesn’t work they’ll enlist anyone within the neighborhood, normally the one who referred to as, to look after the cat whereas there’s a seek for the proprietor.

“We’ve had a number of luck with the SubsequentDoor app,” says Sears.

If the cat is really homeless, CCR contacts one of many native shelters they accomplice with.

Why Do Cats Get Stuck in Trees?

Sears says the most typical motive cats get caught in a tree is predatory exercise, particularly coyotes.

“Coyotes are all over the place,” says Chris Anderson with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and since coyotes are opportunistic, “cats are on the menu.”

A WDFW research discovered coyotes dwelling in practically each a part of the Seattle metro space and 13 p.c of the coyote food regimen was home cats.

A video shared by Todd Bishop, co-founder of Seattle tech information web site GeekWire, exhibits a cat narrowly escaping a coyote in his yard within the metropolis’s busy Ballard neighborhood.

So, whereas coyotes should not a significant menace to people, they’re a menace to cats, who might climb bushes to flee them.

Cats additionally climb bushes to flee canine, or a kitten will get the zoomies and races up a tree and might’t get down. Sears says about 20 p.c of CCR’s rescues are indoor cats that bought out, and indoor cats usually tend to get chased up a tree as a result of they aren’t conscious of their environment.

A Life or Death Situation for Cats

Sears, Otto, their purchasers (and their cats!) know their work helps saves the lives of a whole bunch of cats a 12 months, however a number of different folks don’t—particularly some who touch upon their social media pages. One remark that often pops up is to the impact of, “I’ve by no means seen a cat skeleton in a tree.”

Sears says the reality is you don’t see any skeletons in bushes, whether or not that’s a cat, squirrel or different animal.

“When [cats] lose the power to carry on they may fall,” he says. “We have seen lifeless cats on the base of bushes.”

Cats who fall undergo critical accidents. Cats caught for lengthy intervals can undergo from dehydration and inner accidents they’ll’t recuperate from.

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There had been a number of cases of long-hair cats the place their tail was in a knot and caught to the tree so there was no manner they might make it down.

“If we hadn’t come alongside there completely would have been a skeleton!” says Sears.

A Unique Operation

While there are different rescuers throughout the nation, Shaun says CCR is the one nonprofit.  

“We do that greater than anyone else within the United States…and we are able to say we do that greater than anyone else on this planet,” says Sears.

Each 12 months, the rescue will get increasingly more calls.

“Fire departments and tree providers hand out our data and 911 dispatchers will hear of us and provides out our data,” Sears says. “Fire departments don’t get dispatched for cats in bushes. They’re within the enterprise of human emergencies however not pet emergencies. Very hardly ever a hearth division might help a cat in a tree however they aren’t dispatched for it.”

Cat rescuers Shaun and Tom

Shaun Sears, left, and Tom Otto, of Canopy Cat Rescue

If Your Cat Gets Stuck in a Tree

If your cat goes lacking, be sure you test the bushes, she could also be caught.

While some cats can climb down by themselves, others undoubtedly need assistance. Cats can climb up bushes simply, however because of the form of their claws, climbing down may be very troublesome. And a traumatized cat might merely be too scared to attempt.

Sears doesn’t suggest placing meals on the base of the tree.

“Chances are that your cat received’t be capable to see or odor the meals and it’ll probably entice different animals and wildlife to the bottom of the tree,” says Sears.

If you’re in Washington state, give CCR a name, in any other case you may seek the advice of the worldwide listing that lists cat tree rescuers so you might discover somebody in your space who might help.

You may also attempt tree providers in your space.

Sears says folks might imagine their cat is dumb as a result of the cat can’t climb down from the tree however it’s fairly the alternative.

“The cat was actually good. He used the tree to avoid wasting his life,” he says.

You can sustain with Sears and Otto and their latest rescues on their Canopy Cat Rescue YouTube channel or Instagram web page.

Further Reading

  • Are You Hosting the Cat Parasite? Here’s How You’ll Know
  • 11 Simple Ways to Cat-Proof Your Christmas Tree
  • This Hairy Cat Has a Disorder That Makes Him Look Like an Adorable Werewolf

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