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TreeCat Rescue is made possible by Canopy Climbers, located in Gainesville, Florida. Canopy Climbers provides safe, year-round recreational tree-climbing adventure events and also tree-climbing instruction and courses.



TreeCat Myths

"We rescue cats who are stuck in trees, because pets are family." -Danny Lyons

One day, "Callie" simply disappeared. Her family finally found her stuck in a tree at night and was worried sick about her safety. Click her photo to watch her TreeCat Rescue video.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Cats

We are not scientists or veterinarians. However, TreeCat Rescue follows the science of feline health and behavior. The science is clear: for their own safety and well being, and for the benefit of the wildlife population, cats should be kept indoors.

The choice is yours. However, we encourage cat owners to rethink the antiquated notion of letting cats roam freely outdoors. Outdoor cats get injured and killed younger than their indoor counterparts. They also injure and kill much more wildlife than previously thought.

Don't take our word for it. Please read the science that is readily available on the internet. You can start here by reading this article from the New York Times: "That Cuddly Kitty Is Deadlier Than You Think"

Excepts from the article:

- "Domestic cats in the United States kill billions of birds and mammals a year, according to a new report, a rate that is much higher than previous estimates."

- "All concur that pet cats should not be allowed to prowl around the neighborhood at will, any more than should a pet dog, horse or potbellied pig, and that cat owners who insist their felines "deserve" a bit of freedom are being irresponsible and ultimately not very cat friendly."

We've Heard It All

There are still a few people out there who refuse to accept the following fact:

Some cats need to be rescued from the treetops if they are to get back on the ground safely.

There are the tough-guys who say, "Ah, just get me a .22 rifle and I'll get your cat outa the tree."

Then there are those who repeat the same old falsehood, "Have you ever seen a cat skeleton in a tree? That cat will come down one way or another!" A Fireman actually said that to a TreeCat Rescue client who quickly replied, "Well birds live in trees and you don't find any bird skeletons in trees either."

One TCR client initially called the Fire Department for help because her beloved "Scout" was stuck in a pine tree. The Firemen showed up and attempted to blast Scout out of the tree with the fire hose, to her horror. Scout was 50 feet up in the tree and could easily have fallen straight to the ground. Instead, he just climbed higher to where the water spray couldn't reach him. Thwarted, the Firemen packed it up and left. The client then called TreeCat Rescue, who got him down quickly and safely.

These old wives' tales, urban legends and just plain stubborn myths persist, sometimes at the risk to the health and well being of TreeCats. So with the intention to protect cats who are stuck in trees, we aim to debunk the following TreeCat myths & false beliefs.

Myth #1: "Why Bother...?"

Why bother "rescuing" cats who are stuck in trees? Don't you know, eventually, all cats will come down safely on their own? Of course, the sarcastic version of this myth is (let the chorus sing), "Have you ever seen a cat skeleton blah blah blah...?"

The Facts

Cats are not squirrels. And as previously discussed, cats are good climbers going up, but not good coming down. Cats must climb down a tree backwards due to physics and their physiology. Some cats eventually figure out this concept and are able to work their way down from a tree.

But descending from a tree is impossible for a cat if he or she is instinctively reluctant, injured, exhausted and/or if the tree's diameter is too large. Large trees can prevent a cat from being able to wrap and grip the tree well enough with it's front legs for a safe, controlled descent. Anything other than a controlled descent is a fall. And a fall from heights will very likely result in a negative outcome.

But don't take our word for it. Please read, "Cat Stuck In A Tree: If They Could Come Down, They Would." It sums up our thoughts on this myth.

Another Reason: The Dangers of Dehydration

This risk of a fall is great. But the risk of starvation and dehydration is greater and more likely. Like humans, all animals suffer negative health effects from exposure, dehydration and starvation. Obviously, when a cat is stuck in a tree, it is virtually impossible for him or her to find food and clean drinking water. The adverse health effects of dehydration and starvation necessitates a cat's treetop retrieval and rescue, sooner than later.

According to Cat World, "Dehydration...also known as hypohydration is a serious & potentially life threatening condition which is defined as excessive loss of water & electrolytes (minerals such as sodium, chloride & potassium). Most animals are made up of around 60% water. When the water ratio falls 5% below normal, cats will start to show signs of dehydration. Dehydration requires veterinary attention immediately. Failure to do so may result in death."

Dehydration has three classes;

Mild dehydration: up to 5%
Moderate dehydration: 5 - 10%
Severe dehydration: 10% or more


According to The Feline Advisory Board, cats generally gain much of their water from their food. Therefore, cats who are stuck in trees will experience some level of dehydration, depending on the severity of exposure and duration of their water deprivation. According to the ASPCA, "Water makes up 80 percent of your cat's body, and is necessary for all his biological processes, including circulation, digestion and waste removal."

Depending on a cat's health and age, dehydration can also adversely impact kidney health. This can become more serious after 6-7 days of water deprivation. According to, "Secondary kidney failure can occur as a result of severe dehydration."

Myth #2: Call the Fire Department

If your cat is stuck in a tree, call the Fire Department.

The Facts

The Fire Department cannot help you in most counties. Of course your local Firefighters may truly want to help you and your cat. However, most Fire Departments are not given the permission or the authority to do so. Simply put, they can't be distracted from being ready for inevitable human emergencies. Nor are they equipped or trained in technical tree climbing or aerial treetop rescue.

Do you have a TreeCat Myth that you'd like to share? Email us!

Myth #3: Let Cats Roam

Cats should live free and roam the outdoors.

The Facts

Full Disclosure: this was my cat-ethos for many years. But I lost several cats to the dangers of the outdoors. Plus, the recent science has made it starkly clear. Cats who are free to roam and prowl the outdoors get stuck in trees and are injured and killed at much higher rates than indoor cats. These same cats also kill wildlife at much higher rates than previously thought. TreeCat Rescue encourages cat owners to rethink the antiquated notion that cats should be permitted to roam freely outdoors.


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Please Note: TreeCat Rescue services include treetop cat rescue only.

We do not shelter domestic or stray cats and we are not an animal rehabilitation service.

All photographs © Danny Lyons, unless otherwise credited.

All Content © 2014 Canopy Climbers, LLC. All Rights Reserved.