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Arboreal Cat Rescuers Guide

By Dan Kraus

 

The four basic rules to rescue by:

    1. Always stay tied in.

    2. Do not follow a cat into an extremely risky situation.

    3. Never allow the cat to bite or scratch you.

    4. Do no harm to the cat or the tree.

 

Tips, Tools and Techniques

Stay calm.  Don’t be in a rush just because everyone else is in a frenzy.

Use the proper gear for the job; i.e. proper climbing saddle, locking snaps and karabiners, climbing lines that are the proper length for the situation, hardhat, eye protection and gloves.

 

Tips on Keeping a Cat as Calm as Possible

Climb smoothly, try not to shake the tree or break off dead branches if you don’t need to, as the snapping noises may spook a cat.

Don’t shout down unimportant stuff to the crowd below, the cat may think you are shouting at it.

Once you are at the cat and securely tied in, work quickly to secure the cat in your carrier or bag before it can change its mind and start climbing away from you.

Repelling down while trying to hold an unsecured cat is unsafe for you and the cat and is never recommended.

 

Types of Cat Carrying Devices

Standard Cat Carrier– Attach a strap with a clip on the carrier to hang it from your belt.  Be sure the carrier is of sturdy construction.  Sometimes the cat will climb right into it, if the open door is pushed up to the cat that is in a spot that is hard to reach.

Rope bag a standard rope bag is strong, has a draw string closing top and a ring to clip on your belt.  Be sure to get that draw string top closed tight and locked off so the cat can’t nose itself out when you’re not looking.

Grab Bag (Originally described to me by Peter “Treeman” Jenkins of Tree Climbers International).

A grab bag is a large laundry bag (or the equivalent) that has a glove sewn into the bottom of it.

 

How to Use the Grab Bag

Put your arm into the bag and your hand into the sewn-in glove. The bag should now be flowing up your arm.

Grab the cat firmly by the scruff on the back of its neck. Cat should go into a stiff motionless state. Do not grab a cat by its tail or its back.

Use your other gloved hand to help peel the cat from the tree if needed.

Work the bag around the cat while keeping a secure grip.

Once the cat is in the bag and the opening is closed up, then release your grip on the cat.

A simple loop made out of utility cord can be used to girth hitch your bag closed near the cat and to hang it on your saddle.

 

How to make a grab bag

Take a laundry bag of good size and quality and cut a hole in the bottom of it about the size of a glove cuff.

Use your favorite cat-grabbing glove.  (A leather glove that is teeth and claw proof, yet supple enough to keep a grip on a wiggling cat).

Sew the glove cuff to the hole in the bag (time and care should be taken to be sure glove is thoroughly attached without openings).

 

Extendable Pole and Net

Fishing supply stores sell extendable poles with nets that work good for scooping up cats that are too high up or too far-out to reach safely.

To use, extend the pole until the net is under the rear of the cat. Then wiggle the net while moving it up under cat.  Keep shaking the net until the cat is in the bottom of the net.

Bring the cat in the net back to you.    A loop of utility cord can be used to girth hitch the bag closed. The pole can then be disconnected and the net, with the cat in it, it can then be hung on your belt or carried down.

 

How to Tell if the Cat May Be a Jumper

The cat is backing away from you towards the end of a branch and sounds very frightened or angry.

The cat starts looking in the direction of open space then back at you and then back towards open space.

The cat is hanging precariously in an unstable position.

At this point stop chasing cat and get your ground support ready.

 

Cat Safety Net

A tarp, homeowner’s blanket or sheet can be used by the crowd in a fireman like fashion to catch a jumping or falling cat.