Getting a cat out of a tree can be difficult, but there are a few things you can do which might convince the cat to come down all on its own. This, of course, depends on the situation – how scared the cat is, whether or not it is injured, how high it is up the tree, and whether or not it can get down on its own.
Here are 5 steps of how to get a cat out of a tree:
Step 1 – Assess the Situation
Before you can do anything to help the cat, you have to understand what you are dealing with. Don’t panic and start by analyzing the surroundings. Here are the questions you should be asking:
- Where is the cat? Can you see the cat in the tree?
In some cases, you might know that the cat is up in a tree just by hearing it meow. Try to find the cat in the tree and get a good look at it. This is extremely important because you need to check to see if the cat is injured or not, but also because you need to find out if you can get to the cat yourself or if you need to call for help.
- Is the cat injured?
Take a look at the cat as best as you can. Use your phone and zoom in to get a closer look at the cat up in the tree. Try to figure out if it is injured. Look for blood and if the cat is moving, check to see if it can support itself on all four legs. If the cat is injured, then it might not be able to come down on its own.
- Can the cat get down?
Cats are extremely athletic, but they sometimes climb higher than they intend to. If they are scared, they will climb as high as they can to get out of harm’s way. If they are chasing a bird or a squirrel, they might get caught up in the chase and get higher than they intend to. Sometimes, cats are unable to climb down from trees. Aside from the height, another thing to look out for is broken tree branches or other obstacles that might prevent the cats from climbing down.
- Are there any dogs or other animals that might have scared the cat?
Check the area around the tree. If there is any dog on the premises or another animal that might scare the cat, you should try to remove it. Take the dog inside while you try to get the cat down from the tree. Even if the dog wouldn’t harm the cat, it might still bark at it, which might cause the already stressed cat to get even more frightened and refuse to come down.
- Was there any noise that might have scared the cat?
This is another common cause for cats going up in trees. Try to remember if you’ve heard any big noises in the past few hours. If the noise is still present, though, try to see if you can make it stop. If not, then getting the cat down might be more complicated because the cat will not get a chance to relax.
Step 2 – Try to Convince the Cat to Come Down on Its Own
If the cat is not very scared, if it is not injured, and if the tree is still intact so that it can come down the way it got up, then you should try to convince it to come down. It can be as simple as that. Here’s what you have to do:
- Call the cat to you
The first thing you should do is to call the cat. Call its name in a calm tone of voice. Try to stay calm yourself so you don’t stress the cat out either. Be patient and keep calling the cat. If you’re lucky, it can all end here with the cat coming down.
- Try luring it down with food
If simply calling its name doesn’t work, then you can try luring it down with some tasty treats. Get its favorite food – a savory can of wet food, some fish, or its treats. Open the can or the bad close to the tree. The sound might be enticing enough to get it to come down. If not, hopefully the smell will.
- Try luring it down with toys
If not even its favorite food will get it to come down, then you should try toys next. Get the toys that the cat is most excited about. Try something that makes a sound to get its attention. You can also try with a laser, which the cat will easily see up in the tree. Point the laser down the path that you want the cat to take down the tree.
Step 3 – Try to Get the Cat Down from the Tree by Using its Carrier
If food and toys are not convincing enough to get the cat down the tree, then there is a high chance that it might be scared to come down. Another thing you can try is getting its carrier up in the tree. If the cat needs some extra help getting down, then seeing its carrier close by will most likely do the trick.
Know your kitty though – my Charlie might come for a carrier, but my Trigg hates carriers, so it wouldn’t entice him.
An easy way to get the carrier up in the tree is by throwing a steady rope up the tree and then tying one end to the carrier. Then pull onto the other end of the rope to get the carrier up. Be patient and wait for the cat to get inside the carrier.
Remember that it is a stressful situation for it and that it might be too scared to move. The cat might remember that getting inside the carrier has already gotten it out of some other stressful situations, such as the previous trips to the vet.
Step 4 – Climb Up the Tree to Get the Cat
If the cat refuses to get inside the carrier, then you should consider climbing up the tree to get the cat down. Do not climb up the tree if you do not own a steady ladder!
You should never try climbing the tree without a ladder because you could get hurt. If you feel scared or if you have trouble with heights, then don’t go up the tree. If you hurt yourself in the process you won’t be helping your cat, so be very honest with yourself.
If you are sure that you can climb up the tree, then get ready for it. Here’s what you have to do:
- Get your ladder ready and check if you can reach the cat when you get to the top. If the ladder isn’t tall enough, then you shouldn’t go up.
- Clear the area around the tree. In the event that you fall down, it is best to make sure beforehand that you won’t fall on something that might hurt you.
- Get somebody to be there with you and help you in case you need it. If there is nobody there, then call a friend and let them know what you are about to do. Make a plan – In case you don’t get back to them in 10-15 minutes, then they will know that something is wrong.
- Use protective gear – If you have a bicycle or motorcycle helmet, put it on before you go up the tree. If you have any further protection for your elbows and knees, use that as well. You should also use gloves because your hands might get sweaty after you climb up. Gloves will also prevent you from scratches and splinters.
- Wear something with long sleeves – Keep in mind that your cat is scared and that it might not have a positive reaction to you trying to get it down because it might think that it is in danger. The cat might try to scratch you when you are up there on the ladder so have your arms protected. This is dangerous because it might scare you, which might make you lose your balance on the ladder.
If you have everything ready and if you still want to go through with the rescue mission, then here’s what you have to do from here on:
- Secure the ladder up the tree – Get it into a steady position to ensure your safety. If you have somebody with you, then get them to hold onto the ladder in case it starts to wobble.
- Climb up the tree slowly and get close to the cat – Take your time as you climb. This will ensure your safety and it won’t scare your cat.
- If the cat is in reach, grab it – You can only help the cat if it is within your reach. Don’t try reaching too long because it might make your ladder wobble. Don’t try climbing the tree without the ladder because you might not be able to come down.
- Grab the cat firmly and cautiously – No matter how calm and loving your cat is normally, in this situation, it is tense. To avoid unwanted accidents, grab the cat by its scruff and hold tightly.
- Get the cat to the person helping you – If possible, the person helping you should stand by with a cat carrier. Get the cat inside the carrier as soon as you can.
* Alternatively, you can get the carrier up the tree using a rope (as explained above) before you climb up the ladder. The person helping you can hold on to the rope to make sure that the carrier is up where you need it until the cat is in. Then, he/she can slowly get it down and get the cat out.
Step 5 – Call For Help
If you don’t feel up to climbing the ladder to get the cat down from the tree, then do not go up. You can call for help rather than getting yourself injured!
Who Do You Call to Get a Cat Down from a Tree?
It’s not the fire department! There is a common misconception that firemen get cats down from trees, but this is not true. If you want to get a cat down, then you shouldn’t be calling the fire department for help! You should call the local arborist!
Keep in mind that the arborist will charge you a fee for getting the cat down, but it is all worth it. He/She will get the cat down safely. Arborists have the proper training for climbing trees and the proper equipment for this task. They might also have quite a bit of experience with cats stuck in trees.
What Do You Do When the Cat Is Down?
After the cat is finally down from the tree, it will most likely be very scared. It might be breathing heavily, it might be shaking, so be gentle. Examine the cat to see if it has any injuries such as fractures, cuts, or scratches. Then, you should take the cat to the veterinarian. Some injuries may not be visible with the naked eye, so it is best to have a doctor examine it, especially if you don’t know how the cat got up the tree in the first place.
Moreover, if the cat has been in the tree for a long time, then it might be dehydrated. Get the cat some water, but don’t let it drink a lot of it at once. It’s best that it gets the water in smaller portions rather than all at once.
You should also monitor the cat for a few hours after you get it down. If you notice any odd movements, such as the cat walking in a circle or not being able to walk straight, then the cat might be suffering from neurological issues.
Make sure that the cat urinates and defecates after the incident. It might take a bit longer before it does due to the stress. If more than 12 hours pass, then take the cat to the vet because it might be suffering from internal injuries that are preventing it from urinating and/pr defecating.
If it does urinate, examine the urine. If you notice that the urine is brownish to dark brown in color, then the cat might have kidney damage. If you notice blood in the urine or stool, it might have internal injuries.
Has your cat ever been stuck in a tree? How did you get your cat down from the tree? Tell us all about your experience in the comments section below!
Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,