Jun 2, 2014

Tia's Scary Adventure

We arrived home last Wednesday night to find this note on our door:

Being winter (or on Wednesday, a few days before winter), evenings are now very dark. Although only 6.00 pm when we arrived home, it was as dark as midnight. First task was to try and remember which neighbor has a maple tree. We went out the back yard and called Tia but there was no response, so I showed the kids via Google what maple leaves look like, we grabbed torches, and went walking up the street. We found the tree, next door, set back from our fence, and it is HUGE. Our lovely neighbors heard us and came out, confirmed Tia had been in the tree all day, and opened the gate to let us into the yard.

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.


  1. Replies
    1. She gave us all a big fright. So happy when I heard that tinkling bell. She's old now - she needs to know her limitations!

  2. Always wondered why they could go up and not come down.

    1. you learn something new every day (was news to me too)

  3. After an adventure like that I'd be inside for two days too, poor Tia, she must have been so frightened.
    Another good reason to keep Angel inside.

    1. Yes, if you can get him used to it while he's young it should work. Tia has always been an outdoor cat so doesn't tolerate being kept inside. But being winter she'll spend most of her time in now. As she's getting old now I'm going to try and keep her in much more.

  4. poor Tia! So glad she's safe and sound. I had a cat called Barny who fell out of a tree and broke his jaw - not uncommon apparently - it was just awful and pretty expensive! Didn't put him off climbing tall trees though.

    1. Oh no, that must have been horrible! Poor thing.

  5. Hi Jackie,

    I've heard of cats getting stuck in trees; there's a huge silver birch a couple of doors away from us - I think our fat cat is too lazy to climb it, the scaredy cat is - well - too scared - but the hellcat might take it on.

    We'll have to keep an eye on her...




    1. It's pretty surprising what they will take on, and how high they will climb. You have three cats?! I'd like a second one but not sure I'd have three. That's a lot of kitty litter :)



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