Rescue your Kitten Before it gets Stuck up a Tree

Photo by ZZ
Photo by ZZ

Rescue your Kitten before it Gets stuck up a Tree

written by Zanzara Zeviar, Shuswap Lakes, BC, Canada

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If you’ve ever owned a kitten that ran up a tree and just would not come down, you are not alone.

I’ve spent hundreds of dollars – because of living on acreages, which had a lot of big trees – hiring professional tree climbers or toppers to get kittens out of these trees. Through necessity, I finally figured out a way to teach the kitten to back down the tree.

They are afraid to do this if not taught, as their little claws will only grab climbing up. They always try to climb down and get frightened as their claws slip going down, not grabbing the way they do going up.

Many searches on the internet will tell the frustrated owner of the kitten to just leave them and they will come down on their own. Or advice is given to put food at bottom of tree and cat will come down for it. If the tree is 100 feet high, there is no way the cat will even know there is food there – and in the country attracting other animals – i.e. rodents, coyotes, raccoons, Skunks. Skunks LOVE cat food!

Skunk Eating Cat Food

This skunk walked right in my porch to eat the cat food. When left alone, they don't spray, so I just let him eat and leave on his own. -  Photo by ZZ
This skunk walked right in my porch to eat the cat food. When left alone, they don't spray, so I just let him eat and leave on his own. - Photo by ZZ

Cats and kittens claws are constructed for climbing up.

Cats and kittens claws are constructed for climbing up.

Kitten's Claws - Photo by ZZ
Kitten's Claws - Photo by ZZ

When cats and kittens attempt to climb down headfirst (and normally this is what they will try to do first), it's impossible for them because the claws are curved the wrong way.

Most internet searches will tell people that eventually, a cat or kitten will figure out on its own how to go down the correct way - shimmying down backward so that the claws will cling to the bark of the tree. NOT true. A kitten may figure this out if it’s a year and half old, but before this – it’s unfortunately seldom true. Especially if the tree is really tall,

Tree climbers have told me that many is the time they have found little cat skeletons at the top of trees with the claws totally imbedded in the tree bark. When the tree swayed in the wind, the cat would just cling tighter as it is terrified.

The longer the kitten is up the tree, the hungrier and dehydrated it becomes too. It lacks the will to even come down after a couple of days and unless it rains, will have very little to drink. If it does chew on the tree leaves or needles, its little digestive system suffers and it gets the runs. It becomes so frightened; it just clings on for its life and eventually just starves.

Now this is totally preventable. The trick is to teach the young cat how to climb down the tree backwards. If you have a new kitten or a young cat and you want to prevent it from ever getting stuck up a tree, you can easily teach it this.

Remember, cats are very smart. They retain memory twice as long as a dog and if training steps are repeated, they retain the memory for life.

Instructions continued below

RoseMary SilverCloud

Rescued Barn Kitten - She is a house Queen now!  :)
Rescued Barn Kitten - She is a house Queen now! :)

Instructions

NOTE: It’s very important NOT to rush this procedure. Give the Kitten plenty of time so there is never any fear of the process. Trust will help it remember the lesson much better.

Go to a pet store that has the tiny dog harnesses for sale. Some will have cat harnesses, but they tend to only be for around the neck and belly with nothing in middle. These ones can choke the cat.  Like this one:

Wrong Type of Harness - this one will Choke

Say "NO" to this type of choking harness
Say "NO" to this type of choking harness

 

One that goes around its belly and neck but also attaches together under the belly is best. You will also need a length of light strong rope- about 8 feet should be enough.

Best type harness for training Kitten

 

First day – keeping kitten or young cat in the house – put this little harness on it a few times throughout the day, leaving on a bit longer each time, until it gets used to it. Even just leave it on without attaching anything to it and play a few games with it. Chase the string, or even the rope you are going to use.

Second day – do the same thing in the morning and then in the afternoon, attach the rope to the loop (where a dog’s lead rope would go) and walk around a bit getting the kitten/cat used to the feeling of the pull of it under it’s chest/waist. Do this a few times during the day too.

Third day, if you don’t have a post or cat tree in the house – and if the kitten has been allowed outside briefly, put the harness on it and attach the rope. Tie the rope around your waist, making sure it’s a knot easy to get undone (slipknot), but not possible to come undone on it’s own – tying it short enough that the kitten would not be able to climb above your head, so that you can easily reach it.

Then go to the indoor cat tree or outside to a tree with a wide enough trunk, but not too wide for the kitten to be able to latch onto. Hold the kitten against the tree, and just support it enough, that it will try to start climbing the tree.

This will be its instinct if not held up too much. When it has climbed a few steps up and is supporting itself, physically pull one of its front paws off the tree, and place it about half an inch below where it was.

Then do the same with the other front foot. Then do the same with the back feet.

Do this a couple of times so that the kitten has backed down a few inches. Then take the kitten off the tree, praising it and petting in the whole time.

Next day do the same thing, once in morning and once in after noon. Each time, pulling gently on the rope to get it used to it and to understand that a slight pull means climb backwards and down wards. Next day repeat, each time letting it climb a little bit higher. When you have allowed it to climb above your head – lengthening the amount of rope tied around your waist – gently pull on the rope, encouraging it to climb down on its own. Tug very gently, or it will resist and try to climb higher.

When you have done this for about a week, and the kitten has climbed a few feet above your head, you will find that with a slight tug on the rope and calling “come (kitty’s name)” the kitten will begin to climb down on its own. Depending on how well the kitten has learned this, you will know whether to lengthen the lessons a few days more.

You will then feel confident to allow your kitten outside with out worrying about it getting stuck up the tree or having to first find which 150 foot tree it’s up and then paying a tree climber $100-$200 to go up and get it.

Sometimes, if the tree is too tall and the kitten has climbed up to the flimsiest branches, the tree climber will have to top the tree. He won’t always be able to catch the falling part of the tree and the kitten will fall all the way down to the ground.

One time, I had a tree climber top at tree, it fell close to another tree (this is in the mountains where there are a LOT of evergreen spruce trees) and the kitten jumped over onto the other tree! The tree climber then had to climb the other tree and top it, before we could get the kitten - Moon Beam - down. After this, one – is when I literally figured out – Necessity being Mother of invention – How to teach a young cat how to climb down a tree backwards.

This method has been a total success with quite a few other young cats since Moon Beam - several years ago now.

Happy Kitten/Cat Loving! ZZ

This How To book may be copied and distributed as long as it is kept intact and credit is given to the Author, Zanzara Zeviar of Shuswap Lakes, BC, Canada.

Any Donations for this help book much appreciated. All proceeds go towards health care of my rescued cats and kittens. Thank you.

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=10650171

Tuffin Muffin

Tuffy 6 months - Photo by ZZ - Rescued from people who couldn't keep because of son's allergies
Tuffy 6 months - Photo by ZZ - Rescued from people who couldn't keep because of son's allergies

Tuffin Muffin

Tuffin Muffin at 8 years - Photo by ZZ
Tuffin Muffin at 8 years - Photo by ZZ

Inky Dinky Spider Man

You can see by the size of the normal human bench just how HUGE Inky is. :)
You can see by the size of the normal human bench just how HUGE Inky is. :)

Inky

Inky photos by ZZ Rescued from litter of kittens born under someones door step
Inky photos by ZZ Rescued from litter of kittens born under someones door step

Rainbow

Rainbow is a rescued barn cat - Photo by ZZ
Rainbow is a rescued barn cat - Photo by ZZ

Rainbow followed me home limping (about 1/4 mile) on three legs five years ago. He was injured as a kitten & never cared for. He could barely step on one of his hind back legs.

From constant massage, proper food and a warm, dry comfortable home, today he runs and plays - on all four legs. When he came to me he was about 10, so it's amazing that he healed this way. He thinks he's a kitten again at 15 plus.

He also decided that he is a house cat, and that's that! :)

ZoomZoom

ZoomZoom rescued as a kitten - dropped off in my driveway of country home.  Sad that people do this - but I've got a wonderful loving tabby now.
ZoomZoom rescued as a kitten - dropped off in my driveway of country home. Sad that people do this - but I've got a wonderful loving tabby now.

RoseMary SilverCloud

RoseMary Silver-cloud 4 mths
RoseMary Silver-cloud 4 mths
10 mths.  Rescued RMSC from litter of barn cats.  There were 25 cats and the kittens!!!
10 mths. Rescued RMSC from litter of barn cats. There were 25 cats and the kittens!!! | Source

Comments 4 comments

Gisela 6 years ago

I love this! You managed to find a way to publish the book on the net - it's great ZZ


GoldenPegasus9 profile image

GoldenPegasus9 6 years ago Author

Thanks Gisela. It's still a work in progress as I'm still adding photos. I really wanted to get the message out, so posting it for Free served my purpose. Someone had a great Idea with HubPages. Luv Z


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 6 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Lovely Hub and full of useful advice - I have had to climb a ladder on occasion to help a kitten down.

Your cats are beautiful :)


GoldenPegasus9 profile image

GoldenPegasus9 6 years ago Author

Thank you for your positive comments Sufidreamer.

Looking at your Hug - wow, what an interesting life you lead. There was no area there to make a comment though.

Wishing you total success in all your Endeavours.

Blessings, ZZ

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    Comments 4 comments

    Lady Guinevere profile image

    Lady Guinevere 7 years ago from West Virginia

    Very good adbice!! I had a cat stuck up a 90 foor tree and it took two days to get it to come out of the tree. I just waved a can of cat food and coaxed it down. It took a while but he did come down and he hasn't been up a tree since. I think he was going after a squirrel. We are in a very wooded location too. Thanks for posting on my fedding de-sexed cat hub.

    One word of advice and it isn't your fault but HP's editor. Go edit your article and put the comment box under the article. I had to do this twice to one of mine before the chanes took.

    Welcome to Hub Pages!


    RichAndHappy2 profile image

    RichAndHappy2 7 years ago from Alberta, Canada

    I am glad you wrote this article for the cat people out there, as a guilty feeling dog owner because whenever my dogs chased a cat I felt bad for the cat. I like to see the dog chase cat game but I never want any animal to be hurt so I hope all you cat owners take this advice so your cats can be safe from the dogs that love to chase them.

    Well written sound advise that all cat owners should consider.


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    kimbaa 7 years ago from New York

    Nice now I need to figure this out to maybe you can help me with it.


    D.A.L. profile image

    D.A.L. 7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

    Good start to your hubs. Very interesting. Cat lovers all over the world will surely be interested in your advise.

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