TreeCat Rescue Report: Percy
What: Stuck in a Laurel Oak tree for 8 days
Where: Gainesville, FL
Rescue Date: 11.14.11
Rescue Climber: Danny Lyons
Percy broke all the TreeCat Rescue "stuck-in-a-tree" records.
I was in Atlanta for advanced tree-climbing training when I got a call from Kim in Gainesville whose cat Percy was stuck in a tree for 3 days. It was now Wednesday the 9th. I told Kim that I wouldn't be back in Gainesville until the 14th. Unfortunately, Percy would have to come down on his own, or wait until then to be rescued.
Percy scarfing down treats after his rescue.
Kim's daughter Courtney called early on Monday, the 14th. Percy was still in the tree! As I was packing up the climbing gear, I received another call for another rescue. It was turning out to be a double TreeCat Rescue day.
When I arrived, Percy was about 70 feet high in a spindly Laurel Oak tree. Unfortunately, there wasn't much of an anchor above his position in the tree. I threw my tag line into the tree to establish my anchor and to see how Percy would react. The throw bag spooked him and he quickly shot down to his safe place: a roomy, level area where 3 huge branches met.
Courtney told me that at one point in the week, Percy actually came out of the tree. For some reason, once he hit the ground, he immediately and mysteriously shot right back up the same tree. They called the Fire Department, twice. Both times, the Fire Department came out to see if they could help, to no avail. Percy was simply too elusive and too high up in the tree to be helped.
Courtney holds Percy cat in the bag.
As I began to assess the situation, I set up my anchor fairly high up. Percy was still stationary. He really hated the throw bag and the tag line above because they make the branches moves and whip around abruptly. But still he refused to descend from about 35 feet. I was clear that I needed to climb into the tree to retrieve him.
I set up my climbing line and ascended slowly to not scare Percy back up to the top of the tree. The tree has a lean, so I set my lanyard around the tree so I could bring myself closer to the trunk. As I moved closer to Percy, he got very tense. I talked to him and reassured him. He occasionally meowed, but grew more quiet as I got even closer. He was hunkering down in his spot as his eyes grew wider or more intense.
Soon, it became clear to me that Percy was done being stuck in a tree. It's as if he figured out that I was his ticket to the ground. He let me get close enough to pet him on the head. He started relaxing and closing his eyes. Even though I didn't have the best position to lift him off the tree, I went for the grab anyway. Once I had a good grip, I pulled Percy swiftly into the cat bag. He made a few meows but then relaxed and went quiet. Percy was now safe.
Courtney and Percy both happy that Percy is now safe.
Courtney brought Percy inside and soon he was drinking water and eating lots of treats. An email from Kim said that Percy was "glued" to her all that night and that he was doing really well!