Dogs and Cats and Trees Oh My!


We interrupt The Gadgeteer to bring you an off topic story…

Around 2am Monday morning, we were awakened by a dog barking in the back yard. After listening to that racket for several minutes, my roomie got up and shined a flashlight out the window at the dog, which startled it away. We figured it had chased Max the gadget cat into our wood shed, since he hadn’t come in that night. The next morning, no Max. I come home after work, no Max. Roomie comes home from work, we eat supper, still no Max. We finally decide to go check the wood shed for signs of Max. Roomie calls for him and hears a pitiful ‘meowwwww’. She keeps calling, trying to figure out where he is, and finally I think to look up…

and there he is 40ft (how do I know he’s 40 ft up? Keep reading…) up a tree, perched on an 8 inch long broken limb. I look at roomie, she looks and me and we both say “Oh crap!”. Poor Max had apparently be stuck up in that tree from 2am the previous night till we saw him around 7pm. We kept trying to coax him to climb down, but there was no way he was going to do that on his own. You could tell that he was tired as he would stand on the limb for a few minutes and then he would hang over the limb by his stomach (ouch!). Every time he would change positions, I was sure he was going to fall. And a fall would mean no more Max as there weren’t any limbs for him to grab for on the way down.

We called our neighbors to see if they might offer some advice. Their best idea was to find someone with a deer hunting stand that you use to manually climb up a tree. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get ahold of the one person that they thought might have one. I then suggest that we call the Fire Dept. Since we live out in the sticks, the closest volunteer dept is about 10 or so miles away. Roomie finds the number using Google (Hey, technology does enter this story! Yay!) and I call them. I was pretty sure they would just laugh, but I was wrong, they ask for the address and say they are on their way. I ask how much they will charge and they say $1000 and then just laugh and say it won’t cost us anything, but they can’t promise to get Max down.

By this time it’s about 9pm and completely dark outside… Finally we hear vehicles coming down our long gravel road. First a sheriff’s SUV and next the fire truck (no, they didn’t have their sirens and lights on). 4 or 5 firemen get out and when they ask where the cat is, we point to the tree and they shine a flashlight up and say “wow”. They get their 35ft extension ladder and proceed to set it up at the base of the tree. The smallest fireman climbs up and has to stand on the next to last rung in order to even reach Max. At this point, I was scared that the fireman might fall trying to rescue the cat. But luckily, Max was retrieved and both the fireman and the cat reached the ground in one piece!

Thanks go out the Brown County, IN Volunteer Fire Dept. These people risk their lives every day to try to save people, property and even cats from danger! I truly appreciate them!

I really wish I would have thought to snap a picture of Max while he was up in the tree last night! I suggested to him this morning that he go back up there so I could get one, but he didn’t seem very receptive to the idea. Hey, I wonder if this counts as one of his 9 lives? ;o)

I went ahead and snapped a picture of the tree today and discovered that Max left a little of himself up there! Check out the cat fuzz stuck to the little limb stub he was perched on for 19hrs!

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • obscurestooge April 17, 2007, 12:57 pm

    I’m glad Mr. McClimbersons is OK! I’ll bet he doesn’t go outside for a while.
    And I’ve got to say, “Max the gadget cat” is about the coolest pet name ever.

  • Robert Grenader April 17, 2007, 8:11 pm

    Actually, there has never, never been, in recorded history, an instance of a kat skeleton found on a tree limb. The little fuzz balls, when they get hungry enough, will slither down the tree, tail first (claws only point one direction) to the ground.

    How do I know this? Well Isis used to skitter up a cedar tree and beg for rescue. After getting my foreams shredded by aforementioned claws, I vowed never again. Next time, it took her 8 hrs, but she came down for dinner.

  • Julie April 17, 2007, 9:12 pm

    I was more worried that Max would lose his footing and just fall to the ground with a big thud. 19hrs is a long time to sit on a tiny little branch. Max is a big cat, we couldn’t even figure out what he was sitting on for awhile. His whole body hid the broken branch.

  • B. J. Swanson April 18, 2007, 12:32 am

    Glad to hear Max is okay.

  • Tyler Puckett April 18, 2007, 5:09 pm

    Cats are able to survive a fall from up to 7 stories unscathed. They have amazing balancing capability, allowing them to land flat on their feet. Of course, knowing this wouldn’t set my mind at ease if my cat decided to jump off the top of a tree.

    Once, my cat got stuck in a tree very, very high up in the air. I was worried at first, but we just let her come down on her own. She didn’t jump, thank goodness…instead, she came down tail-first. It took her about 10 minutes to come down, but when she did, she came right to the door and ate.

    After we moved to a house closer to the road, she’s been scared to go outside. Thus, she only goes outside when she needs to use the “facilities.”

  • Murray Ball April 18, 2007, 11:30 pm

    Good Story Jules! Now here’s another….

    We had a cat, an expensive little thing at $500 a pop, but cute as a daisy as it was Bengal (think baby leopard).

    Anyway, Zeffa, the cat, had started to annoy me being inside, so he had spent a few nights in the garage which had a catflap.

    So, back to the story…. It was about 9:30PM one evening when I heard a cat meowing incessantly. I looked out the back door and could hear this cat, but couldn’t see a thing…and it was just starting to rain. Well after five minutes of investigation I came inside and got the torch and started trying to follow the sound with the beam of light (Sorry Jules, just a boring rechargeable!). Sure enough, there was Zeffa (stupid cat!) about 25′ up the neighbour’s (who I do not get on with at all) tree.

    She was scared and she was stuck, but no amount of coaxing, calling or cajoling was about to move this cat AND she was meowing AND it was raining.

    There was no way I could get my ladder, haul it over the neighbour from Hell’s fence, scale a tree in the dark and the rain, so I stood there and said “Hey Stupid Cat….stay there all night for all I care” and expected I would be treeing climbing before breakfast the next morning.

    Well, next morning arrives and to the back door strolls Zeffa, meowing for her breakfast like nothing had ever happened! How she had gotten down I don’t know. For that matter, what she what doing up there I don’t know, but she got herself figured out. Stupid Cat!


  • Julie April 19, 2007, 8:15 am


    A Bengal huh? What are they like (besides annoying?) ;o)

    Your story reminds me of yet another cat in the tree story…

    When I was a kid, I was good friends a boy that lived next to me. one summer when we were probably 12yrs old, we both ended up getting kittens from a garage sale. Mine was named Spunky and he named his Punk.

    Ok, fast forward a year or two… Punk ends up stuck in a tree probably more like 50ft in air. No amount of coaxing helped and the fire dept. did not offer assistance either. That poor cat stayed up in that tree for almost a week! Yes, he finally came down on his own though…

    The moral of the story is that cats DO eventually come down out of trees on their own, but it’s really hard for their owners to just ignore them till they do. :o)

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