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  #1  
Old 11-21-2009, 04:06 PM
astro astro is online now
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Will a cat always come down out of tree or can they die up there?

Just curious. Assuming a cat is not physically caught in a tree, but is simply too scared to come down, will the cat eventually come down, or can it stay up so long it will die of starvation up in the tree?
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  #2  
Old 11-21-2009, 04:07 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Ever see a cat skeleton in a tree?

I'm guessing they get down eventually.
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  #3  
Old 11-21-2009, 04:37 PM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is offline
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It's not just a matter of them being scared-- their claws are a lot better at climbing than decending a tree, so it's entirely possible that they could climb up a tree and not be able to get down it. I think they'd probably try it and fall before they starved.

Otherwise they usually will come down, but it might be days and days before they try it.
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  #4  
Old 11-21-2009, 05:00 PM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is online now
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I had a boyfriend who told me that exact thing about never seeing a cat skeleton in a tree. They will come down when they get hungry, he said. They got up there and they will be able to get back down.

So when HIS cat got on the roof of the apartment house next door, he left her up there. Meowing, more piteously by the day.

He kept saying, "One more day and she'll figure it out." He figured that, the roof being flat, there might be puddles of water up there for her to drink.

On the fourth or fifth day he and I climbed up the fire escape. I held on to him while he stood on the narrow metal rail around the fire escape, three stories off the ground, adn called the cat. She came to him. She was weak, but not so weak she didn't grab onto the roof when he tried to rescue her. I kept telling him, "Grab her by the scruff of the neck," and eventually he did, and we got her down, whereupon she became an indoor cat for the rest of her life.

I should mention, this guy was afraid of heights. I'm not, and I offered to go up on the roof. But I would have had to do more climbing, since he was about a foot taller than I was. He was shaking from the time we started climbing the fire escape. But I had to admire the way he loved his cat.

I also weighed considerably less, and would not have bent the railing on the neighbors' fire escape. But then, they probably would have had the fire department to get ME down, since like a cat I've been known to go up things that were a lot harder to descend.
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  #5  
Old 11-21-2009, 05:11 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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I don't think some of them ever will come down. We had a cat that climbed a really tall tree once and it stayed there for days getting more and more panicked. We eventually called the fire department and my father opted to take out a 30.06 rifle and shoot the branch it was on down. It worked but the cat got impaled by debris and fell straight to the ground with a THUMP. It was still alive but died of internal injuries about a week later at the vet's office. I felt horrible at the time but there was nothing else that could really be done. It had already gone about 4 days without water and showed no signs of ever coming down. It was a very tall and skinny pine tree so I am not even sure she knew how to get down on her own. The skeletons of the really stubborn cats probably just fall to the ground on their own and taken away quickly by predators and vermin just like all dead animals do.
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  #6  
Old 11-21-2009, 07:43 PM
crowmanyclouds crowmanyclouds is offline
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They can live in trees and grow to enormous sizes, "I can haz firezman NOW?"!


CMC fnord!
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  #7  
Old 11-21-2009, 09:42 PM
G. Pie G. Pie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
We eventually called the fire department and my father opted to take out a 30.06 rifle and shoot the branch it was on down.
Huh? What about the fire department?
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  #8  
Old 11-21-2009, 09:47 PM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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Originally Posted by G. Pie View Post
Huh? What about the fire department?
Those bastards can take minutes to show up.
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  #9  
Old 11-21-2009, 10:01 PM
shijinn shijinn is offline
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their claws are like hooks which makes it very easy for them to go up any tree headfirst while being useless vice versa. their only option is to either jump down or slowly reverse down while hugging the tree. depending on the tree, neither of these are palatable once the adrenaline is gone.
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  #10  
Old 11-21-2009, 10:10 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G. Pie View Post
Huh? What about the fire department?
It was a rural area and there were no ladder trucks around that could reach that high. The plan was to cause a branch failure so that the cat could drop on its own and be caught on the way down or get scared and run down by itself. It wasn't the most well thought-out plan but it was the only thing we had left after several days of waiting. It didn't work but I am convinced that she would have stayed up high in a skinny tree from it until she died anyway. Cats really can get so high up in trees that they don't have a good way to get down.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 11-21-2009 at 10:10 PM..
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  #11  
Old 11-21-2009, 10:44 PM
Rysto Rysto is offline
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Originally Posted by shijinn View Post
their claws are like hooks which makes it very easy for them to go up any tree headfirst while being useless vice versa. their only option is to either jump down or slowly reverse down while hugging the tree. depending on the tree, neither of these are palatable once the adrenaline is gone.
My parents' cat used to run down the tree face-first, and jump off at the last second.
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  #12  
Old 11-21-2009, 11:46 PM
jasonh300 jasonh300 is offline
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Originally Posted by Rysto View Post
My parents' cat used to run down the tree face-first, and jump off at the last second.
My outdoor cats did that too, but the highest they ever got up in the tree was about 20-25 feet...never any higher than I could climb at 10 years old.
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  #13  
Old 11-22-2009, 01:35 AM
G. Pie G. Pie is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
It was a rural area and there were no ladder trucks around that could reach that high.
Oh, thanks for the clarification. I read your post like "Yeah, well, help's on the way so, in the meantime, let's see what I can do with this gun here ...."

Sorry about your cat. That sucks.
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  #14  
Old 11-22-2009, 02:13 AM
Sanity Challenged Sanity Challenged is online now
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If you find yourself in such a situation, you may also consider contacting your local tree service, particularly a small local one that could use some goodwill publicity. If you have to pay for a climber to go up a dangerous tree, it will be costly, but my friend has rescued pets from trees before at no cost just for the publicity.
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  #15  
Old 11-22-2009, 02:14 AM
wolf_meister wolf_meister is offline
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Shagnasty, when I read your reply that said
Quote:
my father opted to take out a 30.06 rifle
at first I thought he might be deciding on a seriously drastic course of action. (though it would explain the absence of cat skeletons in trees).
I was glad to read the rest of the sentence to see that he was attempting a humane approach. (I wish that story had a happier ending though).

Last edited by wolf_meister; 11-22-2009 at 02:16 AM..
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  #16  
Old 11-22-2009, 07:33 AM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
my father opted to take out a 30.06 rifle and shoot the branch it was on down.
He shot a 30.06 up in the air?

I wonder where the bullet landed?

Last edited by Crafter_Man; 11-22-2009 at 07:33 AM..
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  #17  
Old 11-22-2009, 07:48 AM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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and what if there are no damsels in distress
what if I knew that and I called your bluff?
don't you think every kitten figures out how to get down
whether or not you ever show up


--Ani DiFranco
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  #18  
Old 11-22-2009, 07:58 AM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shijinn View Post
their claws are like hooks which makes it very easy for them to go up any tree headfirst while being useless vice versa. their only option is to either jump down or slowly reverse down while hugging the tree. depending on the tree, neither of these are palatable once the adrenaline is gone.

I had a cat that would 'spiral' down a tree till she got close enough to run down and jump off. I have never seen a cat back down except very short distances, just to get into position to jump better.

Last edited by kanicbird; 11-22-2009 at 07:59 AM..
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  #19  
Old 11-22-2009, 09:56 AM
Daerlyn Daerlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rysto View Post
My parents' cat used to run down the tree face-first, and jump off at the last second.
One of my cats uses this method to get off of me when he decides he's had enough cuddling. He'd probably do the same if stuck in a tree. He's also blindingly stupid, however, so self-preservation may not be an issue in his crazy little mind.
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  #20  
Old 11-22-2009, 12:26 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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I've lived with about a dozen cats, and all of them, even the one with only two functional legs, have been perfectly capable of going both up and down trees whenever it suited them. Maybe some cats are too far removed from their instincts or their sense to figure it out, but they're certainly physically capable of getting down.
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  #21  
Old 11-22-2009, 12:34 PM
mbh mbh is offline
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We once saw a cat at the top of a telephone pole, mewing loudly. My brother got a tall ladder and started climbing. When my brother was about halfway up, the cat jumped.

The cat scampered away, apparently unharmed.
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  #22  
Old 11-22-2009, 12:48 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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I don't think "real" cats would ever get stuck. Indoor cats or cats that don't go out much may get stuck.

My cat was indoor/outdoor and it learned slowly how to climb a tree. It would have no issue climbing up and on the way down it would lower itself and jump. Sometimes from as high as ten feet, she seemed to know what she was doing. She also would, as one poster describe, hug a tree" and slowly lower herself down the tree. She could get quite high and climb down hugging the tree very slowly.

I think a cat has a normal ablity to climb and get down any tree, but too many cats are indoor or don't ever learn so they climb up and get stuck.

Cats have to learn things. I think it is so funny when you have kitten that don't know how to use their claws yet. My cat, when she was a kitten some how managed to put her right front leg over the back of her head and get the claws on that right front paw stuck on the couch. Then she couldn't figure out how to release her claws, so I had a kitten who's head was stuck because her right front paw was over the back of her head on the left side.
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  #23  
Old 11-22-2009, 02:32 PM
Alice The Goon Alice The Goon is offline
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When I was a kid, we had a cat that would always get way up in the tree and couldn't get down. We would just take a big ball, like a dodgeball, aim, and throw. That cat always came down pretty soon after that. The solution comes from my New Yorker bookmark, though, which has a picture of a cat up in a tree on a cellphone with the caption, "I've done it again." Give all cats phones so they can call for help!
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  #24  
Old 11-23-2009, 03:00 AM
shijinn shijinn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rysto View Post
My parents' cat used to run down the tree face-first, and jump off at the last second.
that should only work up to a certain height or if the tree is not completely vertical. it is essentially falling with style.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kanicbird View Post
I had a cat that would 'spiral' down a tree till she got close enough to run down and jump off. ...
i can't picture it. surely you don't mean like a squirrel?
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  #25  
Old 11-23-2009, 10:56 AM
Sailboat Sailboat is offline
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My mother was once walking a cat on a leash and harness (not a collar, thank goodness) and allowed the leash to slip from her hands when a dog barked. The cat (a very young one we were cat-sitting) ran up a very tall tree, trailing the leash, and eventually went out on a branch and got the leash wrapped around the branch pretty tightly.

At which point, she fell off.

End result was a leash dangling from a high branch, with a yowling cat, suspended in harness, swinging like a Christmas ornament in a breeze, all four feet waving around in empty air.

We called the fire department, and the ladder truck came out, and the ladder didn't go high enough (this was a big sycamore). So the fireman went up as high as he could, and took a tree pruning tool, and pushed the cat over to the trunk so she could grab on, then cut the leash.

The cat promptly ran another couple of yards up the tree and got the leash end stuck again (wedged in a branch joint, maybe).

So the fire department went home.

I suffer from moderate fear of heights, but someone had to go get her; she couldn't free herself. So I took a flashlight (it was now deepening twilight) and a sack and started climbing. Waaaaaay up. Eventually I found her. Stuffing the flashlight into my pocket, I unclipped the leash and grabbed the cat by the scruff and...well...you see the problem. It's damnably hard to stuff a cat into a sack when you're on the ground; try doing it when you're using everything but one hand to cling to a tree. I could NOT let go with my left arm.

Meanwhile, my legs were starting to get weak and shaky from effort and from my phobia.

Kitty was all claws waving in every direction and snagging in my arm.

What to do?

I could still make out people on the ground. I yelled down to go get a blanket and get ready for a fireman's catch.

Several people came back holding the corners of the blanket. As a test, I turned on the flashlight and threw it down, figuring that if the bulb didn't break, the cat wouldn't. The big danger was hitting a branch on the way down. Success! Flashlight bobbed down in the blanket for a moment, and was retrieved still shining.

So I very carefully reached the cat around the trunk so that I could use both hands on her while wrapping my arms themselves around the trunk, and carefully pried all her claws out of my arm and clothing, then turned and dropped her down between the branches.

Kitty plunged, keeping her feet spread out, but she didn't tumble or hit any branches. FOOMP into the blanket...and a moment later she walked nonchalantly off the blanket, tail held high, and was scooped up.

I struggled down the tree, shaking and scratched.
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  #26  
Old 11-23-2009, 09:49 PM
UncleFred UncleFred is offline
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This thread reminds me of Mark Twain's story;

""Boys, I had great presence of mind once. It was at a fire. An old man leaned out of a four-story building calling for help. Everybody in the crowd below looked up, but nobody did anything. The ladders weren't long enough. Nobody had any presence of mind-nobody but me. I came to the rescue. I yelled for a rope. When it came I threw the old man the end of it. He caught it and I told him to tie it around his waist. He did so, and I pulled him down.""
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  #27  
Old 11-23-2009, 09:56 PM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
He shot a 30.06 up in the air?

I wonder where the bullet landed?
It may not have, yet.
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  #28  
Old 11-23-2009, 10:21 PM
levdrakon levdrakon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shijinn View Post
that should only work up to a certain height or if the tree is not completely vertical. it is essentially falling with style.

i can't picture it. surely you don't mean like a squirrel?
We had a lithe little female who had been taken from mom too soon, and she had this thing about watching other animals really closely and mimicking them, like she really needed someone to teach her what she was supposed to do. Anyway, she liked climbing and heights, and when we moved to a place with tall trees and squirrels, she immediately set out to learn how to do everything they do, and got really good at spider climbing up & down trees, spiraling them as she went, just like a squirrel. I was sometimes pretty sure she was so far up she'd never get down, but down she always got, just like a squirrel.
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  #29  
Old 11-23-2009, 10:54 PM
drpepper drpepper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
My mother was once walking a cat on a leash and harness (not a collar, thank goodness) and allowed the leash to slip from her hands when a dog barked. The cat (a very young one we were cat-sitting) ran up a very tall tree, trailing the leash, and eventually went out on a branch and got the leash wrapped around the branch pretty tightly.

At which point, she fell off.

End result was a leash dangling from a high branch, with a yowling cat, suspended in harness, swinging like a Christmas ornament in a breeze, all four feet waving around in empty air.

We called the fire department, and the ladder truck came out, and the ladder didn't go high enough (this was a big sycamore). So the fireman went up as high as he could, and took a tree pruning tool, and pushed the cat over to the trunk so she could grab on, then cut the leash.

The cat promptly ran another couple of yards up the tree and got the leash end stuck again (wedged in a branch joint, maybe).

So the fire department went home.

I suffer from moderate fear of heights, but someone had to go get her; she couldn't free herself. So I took a flashlight (it was now deepening twilight) and a sack and started climbing. Waaaaaay up. Eventually I found her. Stuffing the flashlight into my pocket, I unclipped the leash and grabbed the cat by the scruff and...well...you see the problem. It's damnably hard to stuff a cat into a sack when you're on the ground; try doing it when you're using everything but one hand to cling to a tree. I could NOT let go with my left arm.

Meanwhile, my legs were starting to get weak and shaky from effort and from my phobia.

Kitty was all claws waving in every direction and snagging in my arm.

What to do?

I could still make out people on the ground. I yelled down to go get a blanket and get ready for a fireman's catch.

Several people came back holding the corners of the blanket. As a test, I turned on the flashlight and threw it down, figuring that if the bulb didn't break, the cat wouldn't. The big danger was hitting a branch on the way down. Success! Flashlight bobbed down in the blanket for a moment, and was retrieved still shining.

So I very carefully reached the cat around the trunk so that I could use both hands on her while wrapping my arms themselves around the trunk, and carefully pried all her claws out of my arm and clothing, then turned and dropped her down between the branches.

Kitty plunged, keeping her feet spread out, but she didn't tumble or hit any branches. FOOMP into the blanket...and a moment later she walked nonchalantly off the blanket, tail held high, and was scooped up.

I struggled down the tree, shaking and scratched.
Oh my God, that is a most excellent story, Sailboat! Thanks for taking the time to share.
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  #30  
Old 11-23-2009, 11:32 PM
Terraplane Terraplane is offline
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Even a few days stuck in the tree could be too much. If a cat goes too long without eating it can develop fatty liver disease, which can be fatal. You'd be hard pressed to find somebody that likes cats more than I do, but they are dumb, dumb dumb. Never trust them to do what's best for themselves, they don't have the first clue.
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  #31  
Old 11-25-2009, 09:20 PM
Add99 Add99 is offline
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While waiting in the vet's office, I read the book about cats (featuring an entire clan of cats, two of whom were named Satan and Lucifer, yeah).

According to the book, there are different kinds of cats. Some cats are ground hunters (mice), some are air hunters (birds). You can tell the difference by twirling a smackable toy on the ground or in the air and seeing which it goes for. Ain't science grand. While they may be taught certain skills by their mentors, they still lean in basic directions on certain skills.

The same goes for trees. The good climbers understand that one must come down backwards, looking over the shoulder. Some don't get it and come down face first with bad result. Some breeds can swivel their feet enough to come down face first and yet retain claw traction. But what do I know, it was a picture book after all.
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  #32  
Old 11-25-2009, 09:24 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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Tackleberry: I'll get him down, ma'am. [click!]

Last edited by Bryan Ekers; 11-25-2009 at 09:24 PM..
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  #33  
Old 11-25-2009, 10:00 PM
Susanann Susanann is offline
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Since there is no fire department in the woods.........

Who gets all the wild bobcats down from trees in the forest?
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  #34  
Old 11-26-2009, 12:53 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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And do they make a sound when they do so?
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  #35  
Old 11-26-2009, 08:18 PM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drpepper View Post
Oh my God, that is a most excellent story, Sailboat! Thanks for taking the time to share.

That might be an excellent story but I doubt it's excellent advice. Endangering yourself to rescue a cat doesn't seem a good idea to me.
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  #36  
Old 11-27-2009, 12:31 AM
SCSimmons SCSimmons is offline
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Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
End result was a leash dangling from a high branch, with a yowling cat, suspended in harness, swinging like a Christmas ornament in a breeze, all four feet waving around in empty air.
"Mama! Come quick! ... And bring the video camera!"
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  #37  
Old 11-28-2009, 09:00 AM
arachnologus arachnologus is offline
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I think there's some factor of luck in whether a cat manages to figure out how to climb down. It clearly isn't strictly a matter of how smart the cat is. My big boy (15 lb.) is, generally, about as smart as Goofy in the Disney cartoons, but he can get down trees. He doesn't go straight down, but zigzags from branch to branch, or other irregularities if there are no branches, then jumps the last bit. He doesn't back down (I'm not sure that's an option for cats). He's been perhaps as much as 40 feet up, though usually goes no higher than the roof of the 2-story house. I suspect his complete lack of any problem in climbing down may be more a matter of his total self-confidence in his own athletic ability.

PS. Should any bird-lovers be reading, he shows no interest in small birds whatsoever. Roof rats (which are themselves quite a problem for birds) are his main prey.
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