We arrived home last Wednesday night to find this note on our door:
I could not believe how high she was. When we called her she stood up and tentatively took a couple of steps, then sat again and stared. She didn't make a sound. Y made to climb the tree, but got only a couple of feet up before finally agreeing with the rest of us that it was impossible.
"She'll find her way down," I said. "Cats don't die in trees."
As it turns out though, I was wrong. Cats do indeed get stuck in trees and can die, either by getting exposure or dehydration and falling out, or by falling and killing themselves. I educated myself that evening on Exquisite Kitty. Did you know that cats can't climb down head-first? They have to climb backwards, which is why they are much better at climbing UP than climbing DOWN.
So if your cat is stuck in a tree for a whole day, you can't just leave it there; you have to organise an animal rescue. Also, if your cat is not meowing, she may be weak and dehydrated.
We went out to our backyard and shone torches up to check on her throughout the evening, calling and coaxing her with no result. She changed branch a couple of times, stood and turned around and sat again; at one point she climbed higher up. At another point she was even swaying slightly, clearly nodding off. At another point when I shone up my torch I got four shiny eyes, and then saw a possum sitting on the branch next to her, both of them watching me together.
Eventually I had to go to bed, even though I felt terrible. I found Jim's Animal Rescue's contact details so we could call them in the morning; Y would be home that day.
The next morning I got up early and went outside with the torch, but there was no sign of Tia in the tree and no sound or sight of her when I called either. Just as I was thinking she had collapsed from exhaustion and fallen to her death during the night, I heard her bell, and she appeared from the bushes.
She ate an entire plate of food and a saucer of cat milk in one go, then came straight inside and stayed there for two days.